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Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh

'Desperate to cling to power': Amarinder Singh flays Akalis on farm bills

The Punjab CM said the Akalis' adamant refusal to quit the NDA coalition over the contentious agricultural Bills showed their 'extent of greed'

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday said the Akalis' "adamant refusal" to quit the NDA coalition over the contentious agricultural Bills showed the "extent of their greed and desperation to cling to the power".

The fact that the Shiromani Akali Dal is holding on to the “last vestige" of power it enjoys at the cost of Punjab and its farmers, despite being publicly humiliated by its alliance partner BJP, has exposed their dual standards and total lack of concern for the farming community, said the chief minister.

He was referring to the BJP's statement that it has left the task of convincing farmers on the agriculture Bills to the Akalis. “Why else are the Akalis still a part of the anti-farmer and anti-people BJP-led government at the Centre, which had conspired with large corporate houses to deprive farmers of their livelihood and ruin Punjab?" asked Singh. Singh also accused the SAD of “trying hard to stay politically afloat by hook or by crook".

After the "politically motivated drama" of Harsimrat Kaur's resignation from the Union Cabinet, “clearly undertaken to save face" amid farmers’ unrest across Punjab, SAD president Sukhbir Badal was widely expected to pull his party out of the Union government, but it did not happen, said Amarinder Singh, seeking to deride the Akali leader for his "shameful double-speak". Lambasting Akalis for "actively supporting" the Union government in "selling off" the farmers' rights to the "monopolistic corporate houses through the unconstitutional and undemocratic farm Bills", the chief minister said the SAD has completely lost its political credibility after their antics on the new laws.

The Badals will go down in the Akali history as leaders responsible for the party's destruction, he said in a statement here. From the farmers' resentment against them to their fallout with the BJP, the Akalis seem to be heading towards total elimination from Punjab's political arena, said Amarinder Singh, adding the people of the state, especially the farmers, will not forgive the Badals for their deception and dishonesty.

“The Prime Minister and his BJP do not care for the Akalis as is evident from the promptness with which Harsimrat's resignation was accepted," said the chief minister. It seems the BJP wants to go it alone in the Punjab assembly polls, he said, adding the stage seems set for the NDA to throw out SAD if the latter does not quit the ruling coalition on its own.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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