Former Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh has heaped praises on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for repealing the contentious farm laws, saying the move proved that “he listens to public opinion”.
In a column for Times of India, Singh — who resigned as chief minister after a public showdown in Punjab — wrote: “There was no conditional or phased withdrawal and the PM took a firm decision. The fact that the Prime Minister himself announced this was not missed on people. It was easy for the announcement to be made by someone else or even announce it on the floor of Parliament. Yet, this was done without any political considerations of win or loss. To see the Prime Minister’s decision as a “climbdown” or “weakness” is not true. In a democracy, there is nothing bigger than listening to the will of the people and there is no bigger democrat than a leader who does that.”
Hailing the repeal of the contentious farm laws, Singh said “any nationalist, any person who thinks about the welfare of our farmer and the agriculture sector will welcome this announcement. It also brings closure to the tumultuous happenings in the months gone by, which have pained all of us. I too would like to pay my tributes once again to the farmers who have shown great courage”.
Singh also hit back at critics as well as Pakistan, saying “nations like Pakistan, who never have and never will defeat us on the battlefield had their strategies ready for a proxy battle using our proud and patriotic farmers. This one announcement by the Prime Minister punctured those half-baked dreams”.
The former chief minister urged people not to “use the Sikh faith for their own politics. The memories and wounds of the 1980s are for everyone to see. If anyone plays politics on these issues, the people will teach them a lesson.”
“No Sikh has missed the fact that the announcements to withdraw the farm laws happened on an auspicious day. The Prime Minister quoted Guru Nanak Dev Ji and Guru Gobind Singh Ji. He used the phrase ‘Kshama Bhaav’ in his address. It is obvious that he is seeking to build a connect with the Sikh community,” he wrote.
Singh also hailed the reopening of the Kartarpur Corridor, saying the prime minister “was kind to open the Kartarpur corridor for devotees. In the last year, he has bowed at two Gurudwaras in Delhi. Which Sikh did not feel happy when the Sri Guru Granth Sahib returned from Afghanistan and found a special respect in our nation”.
The Patiala royal was also scathing towards his former party, the Congress, as he slammed the party’s poor performance when it tried to politicise issues. “The CAA protests began in late 2019. In the subsequent Delhi elections, the Congress got a golden zero for the second time. They tried to politicise the return of migrants during Covid lockdown and in Bihar, a state with a significant number of migrants the Congress’ electoral performance was so bad that their friends in RJD could not make it to power (redux of UP 2017)! In the assembly polls in May this year at the peak of Covid and farm laws, the Congress did not win in Kerala even though the state has a history of alternating between the Left and Congress. In Puducherry they lost their government while in Bengal and Assam it was a whitewash of sorts. Instead, of course correcting on these issues, it destabilised Punjab, the sole state where they have won every election since 2017.
“In contrast, BJP held on to its own in Delhi, emerged single largest in Bihar, formed Governments in Bihar and Puducherry and improved significantly in Bengal, all during the period of farm laws. Thus, it is high time we stop attaching politics motives to every decision.”
The chief minister’s effusive praise comes amid reports of the Punjab BJP cozying up to him ahead of the 2022 polls. Speaking to News18, BJP state chief Ashwani Sharma said: Captain saab has an appeal in the urban areas and he has expressed his willingness to work on an alliance with the BJP.”
Singh, too, had said he was keen to work with the BJP if the farmers’ issue is resolved. Now that the laws have been repealed, a new alliance may soon be on the cards.
With inputs from News18