Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday asked the BJP-ruled Centre to shun “arrogance” and scrap three farm laws as demanded by agitating farmers, and bring a Bill to guarantee minimum support price (MSP) for agricultural produce. Kejriwal said he will hold one-day fast on Monday in response to a call given by the agitating farmers and urged his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) volunteers as well as the people of the country to join in.
Addressing a virtual press briefing, the chief minister said the Centre should immediately accept all demands of the farmers who have been protesting on Delhi’s borders for the past two weeks. Enacted in September, the three farm laws have been projected by the central government as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove the middlemen and allow farmers to sell anywhere in the country.
However, the protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of MSP and do away with the mandi system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.
Soon after Kejriwal’s announcement, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh attacked his Delhi counterpart for “exploiting” the ongoing agitation of the farmers to “further his party’s petty electoral agenda with blatant lies and brazenly false propaganda”.
“In sharp contrast to the Kejriwal government in Delhi, which had been thriving on corporate houses’ crumbs, the Punjab government had neither signed any agreement with Adani Power nor was even aware of the private players bidding for power purchase in the state,” said the Chief Minister, in a hard-hitting reaction to the latest campaign by the AAP in Punjab.
It was, in fact, the Kejriwal government that was shamelessly notifying one of the black farm laws on November 23, at a time when farmers were preparing to march to Delhi to protest these very farm laws, said Amarinder Singh. “And now they’re indulging in theatrics by announcing that they’d be sitting on fast in support of the farmers’ hunger strike on Monday,” he added.
“Do you have no shame? At a time when our farmers are braving the winter cold on the roads outside your city, and many of them are dying fighting for their rights, all you can think of is how to make the most of the opportunity to promote your political interests,” he said.
“Instead of doing anything constructive to help the protesting farmers, who are sitting outside his city for the past 17 days to seek justice, you and your party are busy playing politics,” Amarinder Singh added.