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PUNJAB-No consensus at all-party meet on agri ordinances

June 25, 2020 06:38 AM


No consensus at all-party meet on agri ordinances
POLITICAL DIVIDE: SAD, BJP refuse to go with Cong government’s resolution on withdrawal; all parties firm on continuation of MSP and assured marketing


HT Correspondent


CHANDIGARH :  An all-party meeting convened by Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday failed to arrive at a consensus on the three agriculture marketing reforms ordinances promulgated by the Centre.

There was no agreement among the major political parties on the demand for withdrawal of the ordinances and their legal status with the Akali Dal and the BJP, which are part of the central government, differing with the state’s ruling Congress and others.

The four-hour meeting held through video-conferencing was followed by claims and counter-claims. The Congress government and the opposition SAD gave contrasting versions of the proceedings and the latter’s stance on key resolutions. All parties were firm and together in their insistence on continuation of the MSP regime and assured marketing, though.

After the meeting, an official statement from the state government claimed that all major parties, barring the BJP, resolved to appeal to the Centre to immediately withdraw the three “anti-farmer” ordinances in public interest, but the SAD was quick to issue a rebuttal. “We will go to the Prime Minister to clear any doubts and get an assurance that MSP and assured marketing will continue,” the party said, clearly distancing itself from the move to seek withdrawal of ordinances.

The government said the BJP completely opposed the resolution whereas the SAD, while initially expressing their reservations, eventually decided to partially endorse it.

The resolution read that “a delegation of representatives of all political parties led by the chief minister would meet the PM and Union agriculture minister to convey their strong reservations on these anti-farmer legislations and urge them to immediately withdraw these.” It stated that “agriculture” and “markets” are “state subjects” under the Seventh Schedule and the present ordinances are against the spirit of cooperative federalism enshrined in the Constitution.

SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal said the party would like a legal opinion before terming the ordinances as against the spirit of cooperative federalism. The resolution was, however, passed by the Congress and other parties.

Dubbing the ordinances as “dangerous’, the CM said: “It will lead to an unprecedented crisis for Punjab.”

SAD spokesperson Daljeet Cheema dubbed the government’s statement as false. “Both SAD and BJP are on the same page and firmly conveyed that these Acts have nothing to do with MSP,” he said.

At the meeting, Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar said the ordinances were violative of the spirit of cooperative federalism. Jakhar also hit out at Sukhbir for being unsure and repeatedly shifting his stance.

BJP state president Ashwani Sharma termed the ordinances as pro-farmer, and denied any move to kill the MSP regime.

AAP state unit chief and Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann said not only farmers, but the arhtiyas and small traders will also be impacted by these laws.

Dhindsa too gets invite

The government had invited Sukhdev Dhindsa for the meeting. Dhindsa cited the Anandpur Sahib resolution to claim that the SAD always spoke about more powers to states whereas these ordinances were designed to dilute the same.

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