Moga (Pb), October 4
Punjab MLA and former cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Sunday attended a tractor rally led by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi here to protest against the Centre’s new farm laws.
Gandhi arrived here for holding tractor rallies across Punjab from October 4 till 6.
The rallies, which have been named ‘Kheti Bachao Yatra’, would cover more than 50 km, spread over three days in various districts and constituencies.
Sidhu’s participation in the rally came three days after All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary in-charge of Punjab affairs Harish Rawat met him at his residence in Amritsar.
After the meeting, Rawat had said that the cricketer-turned-politician would attend tractor rallies.
Addressing a public gathering here, Sidhu slammed the BJP-led Centre over the farm laws and dubbed them as an “attack on federal structure” and alleged the central government was being run by “capitalists”.
“They are robbing our rights,” he said, adding that the Centre had imposed a “system” which had failed in Europe and the US.
He said these new legislations would adversely affect five lakh labourers and 30,000 ”arthiyas” (commission agents).
Sidhu said that the Punjab government should give minimum support price (MSP) on pulses and oilseeds and set up infrastructure for storage of crops.
Sidhu, who had been at loggerheads with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, had stayed away from all Congress activities ever since he resigned as cabinet minister last year.
However, Sidhu last month had staged a protest against the farm bills in Amritsar but without Congress’ flags. He had described the farm bills as an “attack on the federal structure” and had also said these “black laws” would “ruin” the farming community.
Sidhu, MLA from Amritsar East seat, was stripped off key portfolios in the cabinet reshuffle in June last year.
The chief minister had divested Sidhu of the Local Government and Tourism and Cultural Affairs Departments and allotted him the power and new and renewable energy portfolio.
However, Sidhu had refused to assume the charge and resigned.
The tension between the Punjab chief minister and Sidhu had come out in the open in May last year when Singh had blamed Sidhu for the “inept handling” of the Local Government Department, claiming that it had resulted in “poor performance” of the Congress in urban areas in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
During the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Singh had taken umbrage at Sidhu’s “friendly match” jibe during electioneering in Bathinda on May 17.
Sidhu had allegedly cornered the Congress government in the state over the issue of the desecration of religious texts, questioning why no FIR was lodged against the Badals, who ran the previous government in the state. PTI
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