Tribune News Service
Moga/Amritsar, March 21
Amid the Covid spike, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal addressed a 'kisan mahapanchayat' against the Centre's three farm laws at Baghapurana in Moga district on Sunday.
Kejriwal the chief minister of Delhi, the city on whose borders farmers have been camping since November resolute of making the central government repeal the laws they see as deleterious to their welfare, accused Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party of conniving to bring the controversial agriculture laws,
The mahapanchayat becomes especially significant because Punjab heads for assembly elections next year.
He said Punjab had shown the rest of the country how peaceful protests are held.
“Modi has brought these farm laws to snatch the lands of poor farmers. He is also trying to disturb us,” he said. He also referred to recent the National Capital Region Amendment Bill introduced in Parliament this Budget session. His government sees the Bill as an attempt to further weaken Delhi’s existing status by handing over administrative powers to the Lieutenant Governor, and therefore, the Centre.
“I know how to deal with BJP and its leaders. I’ve been fighting a battle for the people of Delhi for the past 6 years and hopefully the blessings of the people will help me succeed,” he said.
His government has been frequently at loggerheads with the Lieutenant Governor and Centre.
AAP, he claimed, has always been a supporter of the farmer protests.
“When I first tried to step out from my house to visit Singhu border the Delhi Police put me under house arrest. But I did not lose heart. I repeatedly tried to go out and finally the police allowed me to visit the farmers. I went there and provided food, water, medicines, and shelter to the protesting farmers,” he said.
He also accused Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh of going back on the promises he made last assembly elections.
“No jobs have been provided, no smart phones distributed among youths, and farm loans have not been waived,” he said. “The people of Punjab will ask Amarinder of his promises in the coming elections,”
It’s time to teach them a lesson for broken promises, he said.
“If you vote for us, we will give unemployment allowances to the youths, provide free power, improve law and order situation, provide free education, health services and pull out the peasants from the prevailing farm crisis,” he said.
“We’ll find a way out of the unemployment crisis and the declining farm income," he added.
Sangrur Member of Parliament Bhagwant Mann started began his to speak after Kerjwal, but was forced to cut it short when he realised that his audience was leaving the venue in droves.
The rally was scheduled to begin at 12 pm but was delayed because the Delhi chief minister reached the venue three hours late.
Earlier, Kejriwal arrived in Amritsar on his transit visit before proceeding to attend the kisan mahapanchayat at the grain market of Baghapurana in Moga.
Before his visit, the boards and hoardings of the AAP were removed by the civic authorities during the wee hours for which the officials had to face the wrath of AAP workers. They raised slogans against the civic administration.
Nonetheless, Kejriwal was welcomed by AAP Punjab head Bhagwant Mann at Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport.
When asked about the health guidelines and restrictions being imposed by the Congress-led state government for holding a gathering in the wake of spurt in Covid cases, Mann said, “Congress party has been contesting Assembly elections and holding rallies in Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Assam, was the Covid threat under consideration then? Why did they do so when AAP was holding an event, that too for the farmers? Moreover, all arrangements were in place when it comes to the Covid -19 health guidelines at the venue of the event. Proper sanitizing mechanism and social distancing were being maintained there. I, myself, had undergone Covid testing”, he said.
On the removal of AAP hoardings by the civic authorities here, he said, “Kejriwal could never be removed from the heart and mind of the people by removing the boards and hoardings”.
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