The Amarinder Singh government’s efforts come at a time when the All India Congress Committee (AICC) is trying to fan the party’s nation-wide agitation against the laws enacted by the Modi administration at the Centre.
The Congress governments of Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh too are slated to present their own versions of farm Bills by convening their assemblies, tentatively on November 2.
The Punjab government is likely to move the Bill on Tuesday and get it passed by the assembly. The first day of the session on Monday was reserved for paying tributes and adopting an obituary resolution for farmers who died during the ongoing agitation against the Centre’s legislation, as well for martyred soldiers.
“Reached Vidhan Sabha for the crucial special session beginning today. We meet to discuss and debate steps to save Punjab’s farming and safeguard our interests from Centre’s anti-farmer laws”, the CM tweeted.
Targeting the Centre and the BJP, Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar said the assembly should pass a unanimous resolution “condemning the humiliating treatment” meted out to the farmers’ representatives by the Modi government. “In doing so, the BJP has insulted not just the farming community but Punjab itself,” he added.
Punjab has by far witnessed the most intense farmers’ agitation against the Central laws for three reasons — the total dependence of the state’s farmers on the agriculture produce and marketing committees (APMCs), the clout and resourcefulness of arhatiyas (middlemen) whose interests the central laws hit most severely and, more importantly, the total support the Congress government in the state has extended to the agitation.
This explained Rahul Gandhi spending over two days recently in Punjab participating in the agitation, compared to half a day he spent in the BJP-ruled neighbouring Haryana though it too has major APMC and arhatiyas factors.
Though the move by the Congress governments in states to bring in ‘parallel farms Bills’ is theoretically aimed at “getting the Presidential assent” for the “states laws” and thus “nullifying” the Central farm laws, in reality it is more of a symbolic act aimed at advertising how much the Congress could go in opposing the Bills. A meeting of AICC general secretaries presided over by Sonia Gandhi on Sunday decided to launch a second phase of agitation against these Bills by holding dharns and tractor rallies at state capitals on October 31.