CHANDIGARH — With an RTI response exposing the Centre’s claim on the farm laws having been approved by the high-powered committee on agricultural reforms, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday said it was now obvious that the Akalis and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had been spreading lies at the behest of the Central government.
Media reports citing a reply by the Planning Commission to a Right to Information (RTI) query suggest that the farm Ordinances were promulgated and introduced in Parliament in June 2020 without the report of the chief ministers’ committee being ever appraised by the Governing Council of NITI Aayog.
This, said the Punjab Chief Minister, was in stark contrast to the claims of the Central government, which both Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and AAP had been parroting in an apparent bid to promote the BJP’s anti-farmer agenda.
Union Minister of State for Food Danve Raosaheb Dadarao had claimed before the Lok Sabha that the high-powered committee had approved the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, which Amarinder Singh had categorically rejected and which has now been proved wrong by the RTI reply.
Far from basing the farm laws on the discussions and decisions of the committee, the fact, as validated by the RTI response, was that the committee report had not even been placed till now before the Governing Council of the NITI Aayog, Amarinder Singh pointed out.
Once the report is made public, everyone will now know who said what in the committee meetings, where Punjab was not even a part in the first one, while the second discussed some financial issues with state Finance Minister Manpreet Badal in attendance and the third only participated by Secretary-level officials, he added.
The Chief Minister lambasted the Punjab opposition parties over their campaign of lies, deception and misinformation to promote their collective agenda of instigating the people against the democratically elected Congress government in the state.
“Their bundle of lies have been completely exposed by the RTI response,” he added, slamming the BJP, the SAD and AAP for misleading the nation on such a sensitive issue which had triggered massive unrest and had the potential of disturbing the peace of his state and the country.
Lashing out at former Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal for questioning Rahul Gandhi on the basis of this false propaganda, the Chief Minister said the extent of the SAD leader’s shamelessness was evident from the fact that she continued to spread the ‘lies’ even after the RTI response was extensively published in the media.
Dubbing the SAD as a fake champion of the farmers, the Chief Minister said unlike the Akalis, who had been playing double games on the farm laws’ issue, Rahul and the entire Congress had been steadfastly fighting for their rights from the outset. — IANS