Protesting farmers misread my statement, says CM Amarinder Singh

Express News Service

CHANDIGARH:  A day after farmers unions took umbrage to his suggestion that protesters move out of Punjab, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday said it was unfortunate that the agitators gave a political twist to his statement without understanding the misery they were wreaking on the commoners. He said the farmers’ leaders statement against him, despite his government’s support to their cause, was uncalled for.

Reacting to Samyukt Kisan Morcha’s criticism, Amarinder said they had misinterpreted his appeal and linked it to the upcoming Assembly polls. “The Congress government and the people of Punjab have stood with the farmers on the issue of the farm laws. It is sad they are now suffering due to the continued protests of the farming community across the state,” he added.

He asserted there was no question of trying to split the farmers of Punjab and Haryana, all of whom were equal victims of the apathy of the BJP-led governments at the Centre and in the neighbouring state. “My government, in contrast, has not only firmly supported the farmers’ fight against the farm laws but has even brought in amendment Bills in the Assembly to mitigate their adverse impact,” he pointed out, adding those Bills had, unfortunately, not been forwarded by the Governor to the President for assent.

Pointing out that the farmers’ fight was against the BJP, which was solely responsible for thrusting the anti-farmer legislations on Punjab and other states, Amarinder said inconveniencing the people of Punjab was not justified in the circumstances. He rejected the Morcha’s claims that there was no paralysis of the government in Punjab due to the farmers’ protests, pointing out it was not the Adanis or the Ambanis whose interests were being hurt but the common people and the economy.

The Adanis’ assets in Punjab were a miniscule 0.8% of their total assets, and the presence of the Reliance Group stood at a nominal 0.1%, Amarinder observed, adding the losses caused to these industries in the state were too minor to be of any concern. “It is the people who are suffering due to the disruption of services as a result of the protests,” he said. He said already the situation is becoming serious on the grain storage and procurement fronts due to the agitation, with lifting of the stocks by the FCI and state agencies getting obstructed.