Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu, who has been lying low for few months, today posted two tweets extending support to farmers protesting against the farm bills that were passed by the Lok Sabha on Thursday. "Attack on our existence will not be tolerated," the Punjab Congress leader said backing the protests launched by farmers.
The farm bills that were moved by the centre have been dubbed "anti-farmer" and have seen intense protests, mostly in Punjab and Haryana. On Thursday, BJP's oldest ally, the Shiromani Akali Dal, pulled out its lone minister from the government and said it would review ties over the issue.
"Governments have been making this mistake all their ages. They had dust on their face, but they kept cleaning the mirror," Mr Sidhu tweeted in Hindi.
This was followed with another tweet in Gurmukhi, which roughly read: "Farming is the soul of Punjab, the wounds of the body can heal but an attack on our spirit, our existence will not be tolerated. The war trumpet says Inqilab Zindabad, Punjab, Punjabiyat and each Punjabi are with the farmers."
ਕਿਸਾਨੀ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਦੀ ਰੂਹ,- Navjot Singh Sidhu (@sherryontopp) September 18, 2020
ਸਰੀਰ ਦੇ ਘਾਓ ਭਰ ਜਾਂਦੇ ਹਨ,
ਪਰ ਆਤਮਾ 'ਤੇ ਵਾਰ,
ਸਾਡੇ ਅਸਤਿਤਵ ਉੱਤੇ ਹਮਲਾ ਬਰਦਾਸ਼ਤ ਨਹੀਂ।
ਜੰਗ ਦੀ ਤੂਤੀ ਬੋਲਦੀ ਹੈ - ਇੰਕਲਾਬ ਜ਼ਿੰਦਾਬਾਦ,
ਪੰਜਾਬ, ਪੰਜਾਬੀਅਤ ਤੇ ਹਰ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਕਿਸਾਨਾਂ ਦੇ ਨਾਲ।
Three bills - the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill; the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill; and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill -- have been passed in the lower house amid protests and an opposition walk-out. The bills will next be tabled in the Rajya Sabha.
The government maintains that the proposed laws are meant to help small and marginal farmers as it aims at creating an ecosystem where farmers and traders enjoy the freedom of choice relating to the sale and purchase of farm produce.
While moving the two bills for discussion in the House, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had said they will lead to more investment in agriculture and help improve the income of farmers.
However, farmers in agriculture-dependent states fear loss of livelihood. Mr Sidhu's party, Congress, which rules Punjab, has termed the bills as "anti-farmers" and alleged that the "brutal" bills will destroy the livelihood of the farming community.
The bills have also led to the exit of BJP's oldest ally from the Union Cabinet.
"I have resigned from Union Cabinet in protest against anti-farmer ordinances and legislation. Proud to stand with farmers as their daughter and sister," Harsimrat Kaur Badal said in a tweet against what she called was "anti-farmer ordinances and legislation".
The resignation came soon after Akali Dal leader Sukhbir Singh Badal opposed the farm sectors bills in Parliament.