“The farm laws are completely wrong as they are against federalism since agriculture is a state subject under Schedule 7 of the Constitution,” said Singh, who unfurled the national flag in Patiala at Raja Bhalindra Singh Sports Complex.
He appealed to Modi to fulfil the demands of the agitating farmers, who are sitting at Delhi’s borders for the past two months. He hoped that the tractor parade of the farmers passes off as peacefully like their agitation has been so far
“Be peaceful and the country is with you,” Singh said, declaring that his heart was with the farmers amid the Republic Day celebrations.
He said that 122 MPs in UK had spoken in favour of the farmers and other countries had also supported the protests as the farmers had been peaceful all along.
The chief minister alleged that the Centre had deliberately kept Punjab out of the high-powered committee initially as they knew that the voices of protest would rise from here, adding that “these voices will continue to rise” till the farmers’ interests were secured.
Punjab was included in the committee only after he personally wrote to the Centre on the issue, Singh said, making it clear that neither he nor his government were ever asked or consulted about the “black” farm laws.
The chief minister lamented that he never thought he would see a day when Punjab’s farmers, who had made the nation self-sufficient in food by ushering in the green revolution, would be forgotten in this manner.
At one time, Punjab farmers were contributing 50 per cent to the food basket and even now contribute 40 per cent of the total foodgrain, he said, adding that “we can never forget what they have done for our country.”
With production now being carried out also in the Ganga, Narmada and Kaveri basins, the farmers of Punjab were being sidelined, he said, adding: “God forbid, a day will come that Punjab would be needed by the nation again.”
Not once did the Congress, which had been providing MSP since, indicated that it would ever be withdrawn or talked about winding up Food Corporation of India, he said, pointing out that with the public distribution system depending on government procurement, the poor would also suffer if the new farm laws are not repealed.
Punjab’s soldiers are posted at all fronts, safeguarding the borders, Singh said, adding that the nation needs to be prepared to meet the multiple threats posed by the collective power of China and Pakistan.
Despite Punjab’s size being reduced drastically in the Partition and then the state’s reorganisation, it had stood for the nation always and will continue to do so, he said.
The chief minister also thanked all those, especially the healthcare and frontline workers who helped the state fight the COVID-19 pandemic and played a vital role in managing the lockdown seamlessly without inconvenience to the people.