Chandigarh (Punjab) [India], March 18 (ANI): Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday said that his government will move the Supreme Court if the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind does not give assent to the State Amendment Bills which the Vidhan Sabha had unanimously passed the Bills.
He said that the Centre should scrap the three farm laws, sit with the farmers and make new legislations in their place.
The Chief Minister said: "We will go to the Supreme Court, if the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind does not give assent to the State Amendment Bills, which unfortunately the Governor is still sitting on, instead of forwarding them for presidential approval, even though the Vidhan Sabha had unanimously passed the Bills, with all parties voting for them. It was tragic, however, that the Akalis and AAP had later started playing political games on the issue, he added.
"Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh urged the Centre not to stand on ego but to immediately scrap legislations and bring in new laws after fresh discussions on the issue with farmers. Chief Minister will go to Supreme Court if President doesn't give assent to the State Amendment Bills", tweeted Punjab CMO.
Addressing the reporters on the completion of four years of his government, the Chief Minister said that he could not see any middle path to break the stalemate between the farmers and the Government of India. The Centre should scrap the farm laws, sit with the farmers and make new legislations in their place, he said.
"What's the use of making it a prestige issue?," he remarked, asking the Centre, "How many more farmers do you want to kill (with your adamant stand)?" There are poor farmers sitting out there, with women and elderly, he pointed out, adding that Punjab alone has lost 112 farmers' lives since the agitation began. "The Constitution has been amended more than 100 times in the past, so why can it not be done again to scrap these laws?" he asked.
The Chief Minister said he failed to understand why does the central government try to break the age-old time-tested relationship between farmers and Arhtiyas. "The new laws are not an improvement on the existing system, but will destroy the farming sector. Where would the poor farmers (comprising 75 per cent of Punjab's farmers) go, in case, Arhtiyas get replaced by big faceless corporates?", he said. Delhi does not understand agriculture, he further remarked, in response to a question on the new Food Corporation of India (FCI) policy of direct payment to farmers, which he had said earlier that he was not in favour of.
"In any case, Agriculture is a state subject and the Centre had no right to legislate on the matter," said Singh. He blamed the central government for trying to destroy the federal structure enshrined in the Constitution by encroaching on state powers.
Upon being questioned about Punjab Governor's move to still sit on the state bills, the Chief Minister said, "Are we a democracy or not? Punjab took a unanimous decision and the Governor had no business to sit on those files. It was his duty to forward to President for assent under Article 254 (2) of the Constitution." He recalled that in the matter of the Land Acquisition Act, the BJP-led Gujarat government had also similarly passed amendment bills, which the then President had consented to. (ANI)