Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Jagat Prakash Nadda has written a letter to Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh about the ongoing protests in the state against the farm last passed by Parliament. In the letter, Nadda has held Amarinder government for the situation in the case and claimed it is not doing anything to control the protests.
“You and your party started opposing these acts crossing all limits of decency and propriety. You and your party openly encouraged agitations against these acts in the state of Punjab, participated in dharnas and rallies and openly issued very provocative statements encouraging agitations against these acts,” Nadda said in the letter.
“Your government added fuel to the fire by openly declaring that you will not lodge any FIR against the agitators, even if they indulge in road dharnas, Railway Tracks blocking etc,” he added.
The farmers have been protesting against the farm laws in Punjab since September 24 when they started blocking railway tracks and stations demanding repeal of the three agriculture related bills.
The railways said on Wednesday that it has suffered losses to the tune of Rs 1,200 crore as protests on train tracks continued at 32 places across Punjab.
According to data from the national transporter, over 2,225 freight rakes carrying vital commodities could not be operated till date due to the blockades caused by the protesters. Around 1,350 trains have been forced to be cancelled or diverted, it said.
Nadda lashed out at Singh for allowing these protests. “Captain Amarinder Singh Ji, as the chief minister of the state, you would appreciate that no one can be allowed to block roads, railway tracks in any agitation and if any agitation has to be carried out, it has to be at places other than the roads, railway tracks, railway stations. This has been reiterated by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in 2009,” he said in the letter.
“However, I am pained to say that you, your party and your government in Punjab have shown little respect and regard for the directions of the Supreme Court and openly encouraged blockade of roads, railway tracks and railway stations,” the BJP chief added.
Farmers in Punjab have been protesring against the three farm laws – The Farmers’ Produce and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; The Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance, and Farm Services Act, 2020; The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020 – claiming they would pave the way for dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big corporate houses.
But Nadda said that the BJP govermment at the Centre respects the farmers. “The farmers of Punjab have always been a pride of the nation and it is for this reason that the central government accords the highest priority in matters of MSP procurement to the state,” said Nadda.
He also reminded Singh that his Congress party had promised about enacting such laws in its election manifesto.
The chief minister, meanwhile, was in Delhi on Wednesday where he staged a dharna (sit-in protest) against the Centre’s new farm legislation and accused the BJP-led government of meting out “step-motherly” treatment towards the state.
However, the farmer bodies in Punjab asserted tha there were presently no blockades of railway tracks and the platforms would be vacated. They also slammed the Centre over the power crisis in the state.