New Delhi: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh will on Monday hold a sit-in protest against the “unlawful” passage of the three contentious farm bills in the recently-concluded monsoon session of the Parliament. Last evening, President Ram Nath Kovind signed the ordinances despite massive uproar by farmers and opposition parties across the country.Also Read - Zee Opinion Poll For Punjab: The Big Takeaways
The chief minister is set to hold his protest at Khatkar Kalan, the ancestral village of freedom fighter Shaheed Bhagat Singh. Also Read - Charanjit Singh Channi Likely to Win From Chamkaur Sahib, Amarinder From Patiala, Predicts Zee Opinion Poll
Taking to Twitter, Singh’s office announced that the Punjab government was “exploring all options including possible amendments to state law to protect farmers; interests” against the Centre’s decision. Also Read - Majha (Punjab): Congress and SAD Likely to Get 10 Seats Each As Per Zee Opinion Poll, Channi Popular CM Choice
All farmer organisations and other stakeholders would be taken into confidence before taking any decision on the way forward, he said, adding the state government was committed to the procurement of every single grain of the farmers without compromising on the pricing.
Singh has also called for a ‘Kisan March’ that will begin on October 1 from the three Takhts, and head towards Mohali.
Several states including Punjab and Haryana, which are considered the grain bowl of India, have been witnessing fierce agitations against the passage of the farm bills.
At least 31 farmer organisations joined hands for the ‘Punjab Bandh’ on Friday last week, that also spread out in several other states including Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. Several organisations in Haryana, including the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), had extended support to the nationwide strike against the farm bills.
Farmers in Punjab and Haryana even started a three-day ‘Rail Roko’ protest last week, blocking many train lines in the region. Northern Railways cancelled at least three trains and curtailed the routes of 20 special trains. In neighbouring Haryana, farmers blocked the Karnal-Meerut, Rohtak-Jhajjar and Delhi-Hisar and other roads.
Remarkably, the farm bill agitation caused raging debates in the Parliament and even led to the Akalis snapping its close to a two-and-a-half-decade-old alliance with the BJP-led NDA as Harsimrat Kaur Badal’s exit from the Union Cabinet over the Centre’s farm reform bills.
Notably, with the assent of the President, the three farm bills – the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill – replace the existing ordinances to become the law.