Voted against Essential Commodities Bill after BJP ignored stakeholders on farm ordinances: SAD

By PTI

CHANDIGARH: Shiromani Akali Dal senior vice president Prem Singh Chandumajra on Wednesday said the party voted against the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill in Parliament after the BJP leadership did not take due notice of reservations of stakeholders on farm ordinances.

Party chief Sukhbir Singh Badal too had stood up in the Parliament “to the party’s rich and glorious traditions” to oppose the farm ordinances, including the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill.

In a statement here, Chandumajra said by taking up the causes of farmers and farm labourers, the SAD chief has made it clear that the party would always ensure that the farming community’s interests were safeguarded at all costs.

“We have also made it clear that unlike the Congress party, we do not indulge in doublespeak and do not play with the sentiments of farmers by betraying their interests in Parliament”, he said.

Chandumajra said the party president spoke with a cross-section of farmers, farmers’ organizations and agricultural experts as part of an exercise to take their opinion on the central ordinances.

He said following this, the SAD also talked to farmer-centric political parties.

“All the stakeholders expressed serious concerns about the central ordinances in their present form. These reservations were brought to the notice of the BJP central leadership but unfortunately, they did not take due notice, forcing the SAD to vote against the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill,” said Chandumajra.

Chandumajra also said the SAD action should be seen from the prism of the welfare of the farmers of the state.

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He said the Centre did not hold consultations with the SAD and did not take into account the reservations expressed by the farming community due to which the party was forced to take a stand against amendments in the Essential Commodities Bill in Parliament.

Chandumajra condemned both the Congress as well as Aam Aadmi Party for “teaming up” to “avoid” voting on the amendments in the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill.

The Union government had on Monday introduced ‘The Farmers’ Produce Trade And Commerce (Promotion And Facilitation) Bill’, ‘The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill’, and ‘The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill’ to replace the ordinances.

The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 which seeks to deregulate food items, including cereals, pulses and onion, a move aimed at transforming the farm sector and raising farmers’ income.

Meanwhile, SAD leader Daljit Singh Cheema asked Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to apologise to farmers for “failing” to protect their interests in Parliament.

Cheema said it was “ridiculous” that at a time when Parliament was in session, the CM was expressing his views on the roads here instead of directing his MPs to express solidarity with the farming community by voting against the Ordinances being introduced there.

The CM on Wednesday led a Congress delegation to submit a memorandum to Governor V P Singh Badnore, seeking his intervention for non-pursuance of the agriculture bills by the Centre in Parliament.