Ahead of a two-day special assembly session to counter the Union government’s farm laws, Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar on Sunday said the Centre may “dismiss” the Congress government if it wants but they will do everything possible to protect farmers’ interests.
The two special session of the state assembly is beginning on Monday, in which the state government is set to bring legislation against the farm laws.
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had a detailed meeting with Congress MLAs on Sunday afternoon to discuss the farm laws and heard their views for the assembly session.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Mr Jakhar said, “We discussed how to protect farmers from these black laws. The MLAs gave their suggestions.”
He said the government is clear that it will do whatever it can to protect farmers’ interests.
The MLAs were of the opinion that if the Centre feels Punjab’s action of countering the new farm laws was not right, they can dismiss the state government, Mr Jakhar said.
“If the Narendra Modi government dismisses our government, they are free to do so. The MLAs were of the opinion, to which the Chief Minister also agreed, that if the Centre has to take such a step they can, but we will do whatever we can to protect interests of farmers,” he said.
We are clear that we have to save farmers; we have to protect the peace, harmony and brotherhood, Mr Jakhar said.
“If Centre thinks Punjab is coming in way of the benefits they want to extend to big corporates through these farm laws and if they want to dismiss our government, they can,” Mr Jakhar said.
Senior Congress leader and MLA Raj Kumar Verka said Punjab will not accept the “black laws”.
“The session will now be of two days instead of one-day duration. We are also bringing other bills for the benefit of landless farmers during the session,” Mr Verka said.
Punjab Minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot said Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has always protected the state’s interests.
“During his first term as a chief minister, he had taken a bold decision to protect the state’s interests on water issues. Now again, he is committed to protect farmers” interests,” the minister said.
Earlier on October 14, a decision to convene special session of the assembly was taken at a meeting of the state cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.
The chief minister had said that his government will fight the “anti-federal and vicious” farm laws tooth and nail through legislative, legal and other routes. The CM had said he would call a special session of the assembly to bring in necessary amendments to state laws to negate the “dangerous impact” of the central legislations, which are designed to “ruin” the farmers as well as the state’s agriculture and economy.
In the last assembly session on August 28, a resolution was passed by a majority to reject three contentious farm ordinances, which later took the shape of the laws.
The farmers in the state have been holding protests demanding that the three farm laws passed by Parliament recently be repealed.
They have expressed apprehension that the new laws will pave a way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big corporates.
The Centre, however, has maintained that the new laws will raise farmers’ income, free them from the clutches of middlemen and usher in new technology in farming.
The three farm bills — the Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 — were passed by Parliament last month. Subsequently, President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the bills.