Navjot Singh Sidhu: Badals laid foundation of Centre’s farm laws; Punjab Congress chief Navjot Sidhu | India News
The leader of Congress alleged that one of the laws of the Center is a “photostatic copy” of the Punjab Contract Farming Law, 2013 enacted during the previous SAD-BJP government led by Parkash Singh Badal.
The Amritsar MLA also claimed that the Badals initially supported the core laws and then took a U-turn after facing heat from the farmers.
“It is with conviction and clarity that I say that the Badal laid the foundations for the Center’s three black laws,” Sidhu said at his first press conference after taking office on the Punjab Pradesh Congressional Committee.
“The badals are the political leaders (neeti nirmata) of the three black laws,” claimed Sidhu.
Sidhu said that former CM Parkash Singh Badal had introduced a bill on contract farming in the Punjab assembly in 2013 and it was later enacted as the Punjab Contract Farm Act.
Punjab law is the “soul,” while the Center’s three “black laws” are the “body,” he said.
Sidhu claimed that Punjab law never spoke of the minimum support price and allowed companies to buy crops below it to exploit farmers.
Up to 108 crops, including wheat and rice, were subject to the law, he said.
In the event of a dispute, the bureaucracy was given the power to resolve it under Punjab’s Contract Farming Act, he said, adding that farmers were prohibited from going to court.
Sidhu also compared some of the provisions of Punjab law to the Center’s 2020 Agricultural Service and Price Guarantee Agreement (Empowerment and Protection), saying it is a “photostatic copy” of state law.
He said there was no guarantee from the MSP in both laws, which mention the resolution of disputes by the bureaucracy, the prohibition of civil court jurisdiction, the amount recovered as income from the land, the period of agreement and the registration authority.
He said that according to these two laws, it was the company that would decide the agricultural services and that they could also get crops directly from the fields that could kill the APMC mandi.
The subdivisional magistrates received protection and no farmer could file a lawsuit under these two laws, he said.
According to Punjab law, if a farmer breaches something, he could be sentenced to a month in jail and forced to pay a fine ranging from Rs 5,000 to Rs 5 lakhs, he said.
These laws were formulated only to benefit companies, Sidhu alleged.
The cricketer-turned-politician slammed the Badals for first backing the Center’s three farm laws and then turning 180 degrees after criticism from farmers.
During the press conference, some video clips of Parkash Singh Badal, Sukhbir Singh Badal and Harsimrat Kaur Badal showing them praising the three agricultural laws of the Center were also screened.