Tomar sheds ‘pretense’ of honesty on farm Bills: Amarinder

Published: Sep 24, 2020, 5:00 pm IST

Chandigarh:  Expressing shock at Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar’s “atrocious lies” over Punjab’s and the Congress party’s stand on the controversial farm Bills, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday said the Union minister had clearly shed even the “pretense” of fairness and honesty in pursuit of the BJP’s agenda.

“In his desperation to promote the BJP-led NDA government’s conspiracy to ruin farmers, Tomar has thrown all propriety to the winds, spreading disinformation against the Congress in general, and me in particular, by peddling shameless falsehoods,” said Amarinder in a statement.

Reacting to Tomar’s latest remarks on the issue, the Chief Minister termed it a “pack of outrageous lies”.

The entire statement of the Unuion Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Minister, as part of a reported interview, was nothing more than unsubstantiated allegations, false claims and deceitful verbal assurances, which provided neither any basis nor any reason for trust or belief, said Amarinder.

On Tomar’s question as to why did he (Amarinder Singh) keep it in his manifesto that APMC will be changed, the Chief Minister said it was obvious that the minister had not even read the Punjab Congress 2017 manifesto.

The manifesto had clearly promised that “updation of the APMC Act will be done to ensure direct access of farmers to the national and international markets through digital technology without tinkering with the existing MSP system and the government of India will not be allowed to tinker with the existing MSP system.”

“Instead they will be pursued to effectively implement MSP for other crops i.e. maize, pulses also. Further, it had stated that agriculture marketing will be upgraded and digitised with a complete ban on utilisation of Mandi Board Funds for purposes other than agriculture marketing.”

Amarinder noted that there was a difference between changing the APMC for the better, which the Congress manifesto clearly promised in detail, and destroying the tried and tested APMC system to benefit a few corporate cronies, which the BJP-led government’s new farm Bills were designed to do.

Even the Congress’ 2019 Lok Sabha poll manifesto also categorically stated that MSP would be protected at all costs and that thousands of markets and ‘mandis’ would be set up by the state governments to provide easy access to farmers for profitable sale of their produce, the Chief Minister pointed out.

“Tell me one place in which your three Bills have made any such promise to the farmers,” he dared Tomar, slamming the minister for spreading lies in an attempt to befool the farmers.

Contrary to Tomar’s allegations, there was no question of going back on the Congress promises, either at the national or state level, because at no point did the party make any promise to ruin the farmers, either in 2017 or in 2019, the Chief Minister said.

The only freedom which the central government, including Tomar, was pleading for the farmers was from their livelihood, said Amarinder, adding that the well-established market system in Punjab had, for decades, given the farmers total security and protection from greedy and monopolistic private traders.

By tearing the fabric of this system apart, the BJP simply wanted to give the lucrative agriculture trading business to their capitalist friends in the corporate world, just as they had already done in some other key sectors of growth, he added.