The Congress on Friday launched a State-wide campaign in Punjab against the Central ordinances on the farming sector, even as the Shiromani Akali Dal accused the party of “misleading” the farmers.
State party chief Sunil Jakhar alleged that in the backdrop of these ordinances, the Union government’s game plan to dump the Minimum Support Price (MSP) system for crops had been exposed. The Shiromani Akali Dal hit back and accused Mr. Jakhar of misleading the farmers and asked him to fight for the rights of farmers by getting the recent hike in State VAT on diesel withdrawn by the ruling Congress government.
Launching its campaign at Fatehgarh Sahib, Mr. Jakhar said, “The Congress will take its fight against the ‘black laws’ enacted by the Central government to each village so that farmers get to know the anti-agriculture intent and policy of the Modi government.”
“We will conduct such programmes at all the district headquarters. If the MSP was abolished then it would completely destroy agriculture in Punjab. Millions of farmers who were ensuring food security of the country could not be left at the mercy of moneylenders. Such a model had failed in States like Bihar. Only a few families would benefit from the new system,” he said.
Shiromani Akali Dal leader and former Minister Daljit Singh Cheema said Mr. Jakhar should first tell if the MSP and assured marketing policy were in force or not in the State? “If both are in force and the produce of Punjab farmers will be procured as per the MSP then what is Jakhar protesting against?” quipped Mr. Cheema.
He said as far as the SAD was concerned, the Central government has pledged that MSP and assured marketing would continue. “We have also announced that there will be no compromise on these twin issues. The new ordinance also provides adequate and fool-proof guarantees for the continuation of MSP and assured marketing regime on a long-term basis,” he said.