Farming and farmers are sacred to the Shiromani Akali Dal and they are one with the community, says party president Sukhbir Badal in an interview with Punjab Bureau Chief Sanjeev Singh Bariana on where the party stands in the ongoing standoff between the farmers and NDA government at the Centre
- The agitation seems to have become a ‘farmer versus BJP’ issue. Do you think other parties, including the SAD and Congress, are losing ground?
I have openly declared the SAD will stand by farmers and follow their leadership. We want no credit. Our support is unconditional. I can’t speak for other parties. They (parties) know why they don’t speak in one voice for the farmers.
- Wasn’t SAD prepared to sink differences with others and work on a common platform?
We recognise farmers’ platform as the common front. There are no differences between farmers and the SAD to sink. Our support is unconditional. We will do whatever farmers ask of us. Surely at one point there was a misunderstanding and we were even charged with sabotaging the farmers’ stir. But we understood the sensitivity and stopped all separate protests. We openly declared that we will only follow farmers.
- You think the farmers’ stir has been adversely affected by different voices on the ground?
No one should dictate terms to farmers. They know where they stand. For us, the issue is not political. We are with them in one voice. We wanted assured minimum support price for all 26 crops, which has been announced. We fail to understand why CM Capt Amarinder Singh is not declaring Punjab a principal marketing area to make Central laws irrelevant in the state.
- Have you got any message from the BJP high command, once your ally, to work out a solution?
No one can give us a message that is against our conviction, particularly on farmers’ issue. To understand Akalis’ stand, it is important to know the SAD is the largest farmer organisation in the world. Every Akali is a farmer and every farmer is an Akali at heart. Our support is unequivocal.
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