‘Misleading’ statement on farm ordinances: Punjab CM seeks apology from Danve, Bir Devinder says govt knew about Centre’s intentions

Written by Man Aman Singh Chhina
| Chandigarh |

September 15, 2020 9:08:14 pm

'Misleading' statement on farm ordinances: Punjab CM seeks apology from Danve, Bir Devinder says govt knew about Centre’s intentionsAmarinder said the Union minister’s remark was a “clear and complete breach” of Parliamentary principles and propriety. He said the minister should apologise immediately and unequivocally for presenting “false facts” in the Lok Sabha.

With Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh announcing that he will be leading a Congress delegation to the Raj Bhavan to submit memorandum against the promulgation of the three farm ordinances by the Centre, former Deputy Speaker of Punjab Vidhan Sabha Bir Devinder Singh Tuesday said that the Governor has no locus standi vis a vis parliamentary proceedings.

This comes even as Amarinder demanded an apology from Union minister Raosaheb Patil Danve for allegedly misleading the nation from Parliament by saying that Punjab was on board the Centre’s farm ordinances.

On the first day of the monsoon session of Parliament on Monday, the Union minister of state for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution had said that a high-powered committee on agriculture had decided on the ordinances after due consideration by all member states.

Rejecting the statement, Amarinder said at no point did the high-powered committee make any suggestion about bringing these ordinances, which the Centre introduced amid the pandemic and has now placed in Parliament for enactment.

The Bills introduced in the Lok Sabha on Monday are the Farmers’ Produce Trade And Commerce (Promotion And Facilitation) Bill; Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill; and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill.

Amarinder said the Union minister’s remark was a “clear and complete breach” of Parliamentary principles and propriety. He said the minister should apologise immediately and unequivocally for presenting “false facts” in the Lok Sabha.

On Monday, Amarinder had announced that he would lead an 11-member delegation of his party on Wednesday to submit a memorandum to the Governor against the ordinances.

“What is the locus standi of the Governor vis a vis the proceedings of the Parliament? The Governor is the constitutional head of the state. Constitutionally he cannot entertain any complaint against any Member of Parliament or the Minister, for any of reference made on the floor of the Parliament during its proceedings. As a matter of parliamentary procedures the Governor cannot even discuss the proceedings of the Parliament, particularly when the House is in session,” said Bir Devinder.

The senior SAD (Democratic) leader said that the CM claims that a Union MoS has made a statement on the floor of the Parliament, which is factually incorrect.

“The appropriate forum to seek remedy is the Parliament alone. Rather than bringing the office of the Governor into unsavory controversy Amarinder Singh should ask his party to move a privilege motion against Danve for misrepresenting the facts and if that is proved the minister could also be censured,” Bir Devinder said, adding that he has appealed to the Governor not to get embroiled in an unnecessary, prejudiced controversy, which Amarinder Singh wishes to play to the galleries by using the fair name of ‘Raj Bhawan’ just to camouflage his own “colossal failures” by not protecting the interests of the farmers of Punjab.

Referring to the Danve’s statement, Bir Devinder said the CM has to answer some very pertinent questions.

“Why did you not care to attend even one meeting of the most important high-powered committee of the CMs that was constituted to discuss measures for transformation of agriculture and raising farmers’ income, despite being agriculture minister of Punjab? Why did you chose to send Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal to attend the meeting in August 2019? Does this not show your lack of concern towards the farmers issue and non seriousness towards the sagging agriculture economy of the state,” Bir Devinder asked.

He also asked if Manpreet Badal had tried to acquire the proceedings of the previous meetings of the high power committee where the issue of ordinances was deliberated upon, when Punjab was not represented on the forum?

“Highly credible sources reveal that in the meeting of the agriculture secretaries of the member states held on September 3, 2019 where Punjab was represented by Kahan Singh Pannu, it was made clear that the ordinances in the present form are in the offing and the Government of India was determined to do so. Pannu must have submitted his note to Amarinder Singh regarding the intent of the Centre to destroy the farmers,” said Bir Devinder.

He questioned why the Punjab government remained silent on the agriculture secretaries meeting from September 2019 to March 2020.

“Was the CM in slumber for seven months or was the government hand in glove with corporates and deliberately looked other way around till the anti-farmers agri-ordinances were promulgated by the President of India on June 5,” he asked.

Meanwhile, Amarinder said his government has consistently opposed any move to dilute the rights and interests of the farmers, not only in the high-powered committee on agricultural reforms but also in the Vidhan Sabha and on all public forums.

The report of the high-powered committee nowhere suggested any ordinance or central law to be enacted by the government of India, he added. In fact, the focus of the report was largely on market reforms wherein the implementation of APMC (Agricultural Produce Market Committee) Act had been emphasised, the CM said.

In its response to the draft report, the Punjab government had clearly stated that 86 per cent of the state’s farmers are smallholders cultivating less than two hectares with little bargaining power in the market. Pointing out that some states like Punjab are dependent on the market fee, his government had further underlined that “the market needs to be monitored and regulated to save the farmers from exploitative private trade,”Amarinder said.

(With PTI)

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