The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Tuesday announced a statewide ‘chakka jam’ on September 25 as well as a simultaneous ‘kisan march’ from all three Sikh religious Takhts in the state — the Akal Takht, the supreme of all five Sikh Takhts, in Amritsar, Takht Keshgarh Sahib and Takht Damdama Sahib — to Mohali on October 1 to hand over the Governor a memorandum for the President as the party declared a ‘sangharsh’ (agitation) programme to get the agricultural Bills reversed.
The decision was taken in the party’s core committee on Monday night which was presided over by party chief Sukhbir Singh Badal. It was also decided that the SAD president would visit various parts of the state to interact with the party cadre from September 26 to 29.
Party spokesman Daljit Singh Cheema said “the core committee decided to hold a ‘chakka jam’ across the state on September 25. Party leaders and workers have been asked to hold the ‘chakka jam’ in all constituencies in league with farmers, ‘khet mazdoor’ and ‘arhatiyas’. The party will observe a three-hour programme from 11 am to 2 pm. Party workers have, however, been asked not to come in the way of emergency services”.
In the ‘kisan march’, the SAD president would lead the march from Takht Damdama Sahib, former Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal would lead the march from Akal Takht and senior Akali leaders Prem Singh Chandumajra and Daljit Singh Cheema would lead the march from Takht Keshgarh Sahib. Senior party leaders would participate in the march. While Balwinder Singh Bhundur, Tota Singh, Charanjit Singh Atwal, Jagmeet Singh Brar and Sikander Singh Maluka would participate in the march starting from Damdama Sahib, senior leaders Nirmal Singh Kahlon, Bikram Singh Majithia, Gulzar Singh Ranike, Upinderjit Kaur and Jagir Kaur would participate in the march starting from Amritsar.
It was decided that the march would culminate at the Dussehra ground in Mohali, following which a delegation of senior party leaders would give the Punjab Governor a memorandum for the President.
There are five Takhts of Sikhs, three in Punjab, one in Maharashtra (Takht Hazoor Sahib in Nanded) and one in Bihar (Takht Patna Sahib).
The core committee also decided to contact all like-minded regional parties across the country to evolve a joint strategy to forge a united fight to get the “anti-farmer Bills revoked”. It also resolved to pursue all logical steps to “ensure the discrimination being meted out to the farmers was removed”.
SAD demands special Assembly session
SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Tuesday asked Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh to hold a special Assembly session immediately to “revoke the amended State Agriculture Produce Markets Committee (APMC) Act of 2017”.
Sukhbir said “the chief minister should not practise deceit with farmers by shedding crocodile tears at their fate while he is the author of the same legislation in Punjab and continues to stand by his own anti-farmer Act”.
In a statement here, Sukhbir said “the chief minister could not run with the hare and hunt with the hound and asked him to tell the farmers and ‘khet mazdoor’ of Punjab why he is refusing to rescind the State APMC Act, 2017 which he has implemented in his own state as chief minister”.
He also asked the CM if he could “show the moral courage to disassociate himself from the Congress manifesto of 2019 which called for removing the APMC Act all together”. He also asked the CM to “apologize to the farming community for encouraging corporatization of the farm sector by accepting the Montek Singh Ahluwalia committee report which calls for reducing procurement of foodgrain”. He asked the CM to “scrap the committee and reject its report which he termed a death warrant for Punjab farmers”.
Sukhbir said “this was not the first time that the chief minister had backstabbed the people. He has earlier also made false promises in the name of the holy Gutka Sahib and the Dasam Pitah. Even now he is trying to deceive farmers”. Stating that the truth was before the people, Sukhbir said “the chief minister was responsible for amending the State APMC Act in 2017 to allow creation of private yards, e-trading and direct marketing”.
The SAD president said “the special Assembly session should also discuss the Congress party’s role in framing of the agricultural ordinances which became Bills recently”.
He said “the chief minister was a member of the high-powered committee which framed the ordinances and even sent Finance Minister Manpreet Badal to participate in a meeting of the committee in Mumbai. Subsequently the Congress government even sent a note to the Centre agreeing with many of the provisions of the ordinances. Farmers want to know why the chief minister kept this entire exercise secret and why he did not take any clearance from farmers before taking a decision which would destroy their future generations”.
Asking Captain Amarinder Singh to “first burn copies of the party’s 2019 election manifesto before trying to speak about the welfare of farmers”.
“Farmers are the life blood of our party [SAD]. We are committed to ensure no injustice is done to them. We are launching a series of programmes in Punjab starting from September 25 to force the Central government to rescind the three agricultural Bills. We will continue our fight for the cause of farmers until the time the entire community is satisfied that its rights are secure. We will not rest till justice is meted out to the annadaata,” Sukhbir said.
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