Chandigarh, Jan 24, 2021 (Yes Punjab News)
Raghav Chadha, National Spokesperson and Punjab Co-incharge of the Aam Aadmi Party today exposed the lies of Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh via details of an RTI that revealed that as early as 7 August 2019, Captain was aware that the three controversial farm laws would be passed and yet chose to remain silent.
Showing a copy of the RTI to the Press, Shri Chadha said, “We have conclusive proof, and not any circumstantial evidence, that reveals that all the three black farm laws bulldozed by Parliament last year, viz., Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act; the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act; and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act were discussed by the High-Powered Committee on Agriculture.
Captain Amarinder Singh was well aware of this. As far back as on 7 August 2019, he knew, in writing, about the members of the Committee, about the agenda of this Committee, he knew that these controversial laws are being discussed and yet remained tight-lipped. What can be bigger proof than this RTI? We can now say with certainty that the Captain has told a barefaced lie to everyone, to the people of Punjab, to the farmers of Punjab, to all the annadaatas. He has acted in a most surreptitious manner.”
Captain’s tacit support to corporates
The High-Powered Committee was formed on 1 July 2019 and Captain Amarinder Singh has claimed that Punjab was not made a member of this Committee in the beginning. The Punjab CM has claimed that it was only after he personally wrote to Prime Minister Modi that Punjab was inducted into the Committee.
Calling Captain Amarinder Singh the biggest anti-farmer Chief Minister in the history of Punjab, Shri Chadha said, “Captain claims he was not included in the first meeting of the High-Powered Committee on agriculture and inducted only after he personally wrote to Prime Minister Modi.
Captain also claims nothing important was discussed in these meetings, he says no policy issues were discussed in these meetings. If these meetings were indeed so frivolous, then why did Captain want to be a member of the High-Powered Committee? It is evident that Captain wanted to be a part of the Committee to give tacit support to corporates. The sole agenda of this Committee was to implement the three black farm laws.”
The Punjab Co-incharge also said, “Here’s our two-pronged question to Captain Amarinder Singh: Why didn’t you place his dissent before the High-Powered Committee about the three black farm laws? Why didn’t you insist on the induction of Farm Unions and Farm leaders, who would be directly aggrieved and impacted by these black laws?”
Talking about Captain Amarinder Singh’s recent Facebook Live, where he claims to have written to the PM to be made a member of the High-Powered Committee, Shri Chadha said, “This means that Captain had knowledge all along about importance of that decisions that would be taken at these meetings. After PM Modi bestowed the gift of membership of the High-Powered Committee on Captain, why didn’t he put forward the case of farmers before the committee?
What prevented Captain Amarinder Singh from disclosing before the farmers that the first meeting of the committee was held without Punjab? Why did Captain request Prime Minister Modi to get membership for only himself? Why didn’t he ask PM Modi to hold discussions with various farmer unions since it is they who would be directly impacted by any decision made by the Committee?
Case of match-fixing between the Captain and Prime Minister Modi
Talking about how the Captain had hoodwinked the farmers and people of Punjab, the AAP Punjab Co-incharge said, “There is irrefutable evidence to prove that Captain Amarinder Singh was nominated by Prime Minister Modi himself to be a member of the High-Powered Committee.
This is a clear case of match-fixing between the two, which is why Captain didn’t let anyone know that the three black farm laws would be implemented. Captain was well aware that corporates would be brought in to market farmers’ crops, but he concealed this information all throughout.
He was also aware that new ways of contract-farming will be introduced. He knew that MSP and the Mandi System would be removed, but he never breathed a word to anyone. In fact, these form the very crux of the three black farm laws, of the very agenda of each meeting held by the High-Powered Committee.”
Captain Amarinder Singh has all along maintained that the three black farm laws were not discussed at the meetings, that only financial issues were discussed at these meetings, and not policy-related issues. To this, Shri Chadha said, “I challenge Captain Amarinder Singh to produce even one shred, one iota of evidence to prove that he registered his dissent about the three black farm laws, dissented against the agenda, the Terms of Reference of the High-Powered Committee on agriculture.
We’ve heard how Captain has said that only financial issues were discussed at these meetings. Let us, for the sake of argument, accept that this is what happened. But even then each of these financial issues pertain to these three black farm laws, as that is the committee’s terms of reference. Why did Captain lie to everyone?”
Shri Chadha further said, “In each of his addresses to the media, Captain Amarinder Singh has said that the farm laws in question were never discussed in the meetings of the High-Powered Committee. This now stands exposed. He has lied each time, every time to the media, to the people of Punjab, to the farmers of Punjab.”
He also said, “As far back as 7 August 2019, Captain Amarinder Singh knew that the Centre’s constituted High-Powered Committee on Agriculture would bring in corporates in marketing farmers’ crops. He was also aware that new ways of contract-farming will be introduced.
He knew that the APMC, that MSP would be abolished. And he did nothing to prevent this from happening. He represents an agrarian state; he could have at least held a discussion with farmer unions of Punjab. That way, perhaps our farmer brothers wouldn’t have had to spend so many nights under the open sky, in this bitter cold. Had Captain Saab held discussions with farmer unions, these black farm laws might not have been implemented at all.”
Captain Amarinder Singh has acted in a surreptitious manner; has intentionally concealed the truth
On 22 January 2021, Captain Amarinder Singh did a Facebook Live where he says that Punjab was made a member of the High-Powered Committee only after Captain wrote to the Prime Minister. Following this, the Captain said ‘some person’ from Punjab was made a Member of the Committee.
However, this ‘some person’ was Captain Amarinder Singh himself. Touching upon this issue, Shri Chadha said, “The Captain himself was a member of the High-Powered Committee on agriculture. During his Facebook Live interaction, one learns that in another meeting of the High-Powered Committee, Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal sat in, since financial issues were being discussed, and not any policy issues.
But these financial issues were about the three black farm laws themselves. As such, why can’t members of the public know what exactly were these financial issues that were discussed? The Captain keeps accusing the Opposition of petty politics and says we should file an RTI if we want more information. We now know that Captain has betrayed Punjab.”
Captain Amarinder Singh and the High-Powered Committee on Agriculture
On 1 July 2019, the BJP government had set up a high-powered committee to look into agrarian issues. The committee was to discuss measures for transformation of agriculture and raising farmers’ income and suggest modalities for adoption and time bound implementation of the three farm bills.
While Captain Amarinder Singh had maintained that the three farm bills were not discussed in any of the meetings he attended, the RTI reveals something else altogether.
Will Captain Amarinder Singh please take note?
Demanding answers from the Punjab Chief Minister, Shri Chadha said, “Why did the Captain lie that the black farm laws were not discussed in the meetings of the High-Powered Committee? Why did he not consult with the farmers of Punjab when he was well aware of the agenda, the objective, the repercussions of the three black farm laws?
Since 7 August 2019, Captain Amarinder Singh has been in the know about the three black laws. He is hand in glove with Prime Minister Modi and was an active participant in the passing, the implementation, the execution, the blatant bulldozing of the three black farm laws during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The Punjab Co-incharge further said, “When meetings were being held to discuss the draft of these laws, way back in July-August 2019, the Captain was present at these meetings. The Congress was present at these meetings and they all agreed to implement these black laws. And following widespread furore, the Captain cried wolf, and in February 2020, said he would call for an all-party meet to discuss the farm laws, but till date, he hasn’t called for such a meeting. What has kept him from having a meaningful exchange with our farmer brothers and sisters?”
Shri Chadha also said, “From 7 August 2019 and until the three black farm laws were passed in the most brazen manner by the Modi government, Captain Amarinder Singh did not once think about discussing these laws with the farmers of Punjab, leave alone let anyone know that the laws would be thus passed. He intentionally concealed it. Doesn’t this show he is in cahoots with the BJP government?”
The National Spokesperson of the Aam Aadmi Party, questioning the secrecy of the High-Powered Committee, said, “This High-Powered Committee was supposed to submit its report within a period of two months. It’s been more than 1.5 years and the contents of that report remain hidden from the public eye. Doesn’t the public have any locus in this? Don’t the farmers deserve to know the truth?”
So far as the Terms of Reference of the Committee are concerned, Shri Chadha said, “The Terms of Reference of the Committee mention that they will ‘examine various provisions of the Essential Commodities Act and situations that require the ECA; to suggest changes in the ECA to attract private investments in agricultural marketing and infrastructure’. All the three laws bulldozed by Parliament were discussed in these meetings.”
Shri Chadha further said, “The terms and conditions discussed as per the Terms of Reference of the High-Powered Committee are exactly what the three black farm laws are all about. Captain Amarinder Singh knew a year in advance and yet stood tight-lipped. I don’t think the people of Punjab require any further proof of Captain’s deceit.”
What are the three Farm Laws
The three laws in contention are the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act; Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act; and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act.
Shri Chadha said, “As far back as 7 August 2019, Captain Amarinder Singh knew that the Centre’s constituted High-Powered Committee on Agriculture would bring in corporates in marketing farmers’ crops, he was aware, in writing, that private investment would be brought in.
He was also aware that new ways of contract-farming will be introduced and yet remained quiet and did nothing to stop any of these laws from being implemented. He never once registered his dissent in these meetings. This is an open and clear case of match-fixing between the Captain and Prime Minister Modi.”
The Punjab Co-incharge further said, “Captain Amarinder Singh has sold off Punjab in his ‘putr-moh’, and in order to save his son. It was with Captain Saab’s consent that the three black farm laws were passed. It is with a heavy heart that I say that Captain Saab has backstabbed the farmers and people of Punjab, and for this crime of deceit, he will have to pay penance for generations to come.”
On the occasion, Leader of Opposition (LoP) in Punjab Assembly Harpal Singh Cheema, MLA Kulwant Singh Pandori, Justice Jora Singh (retd), district president Ropar advocate Dinesh Chadha, Kashmir Singh Malhi, among others were present.