Farmers from Punjab have been fed lies over the three farm bills which were passed by the Indian parliament in the truncated Monsoon session gone by. Such is the level of misinformation regarding the three farm laws that the farmers of Punjab are not willing to let go off the streets, and have now launched a “Dilli Chalo” campaign, under the umbrella of which thousands of alleged farmers are headed to the national capital to protest, and demand a repeal of the laws. The Haryana government, keeping in mind the Covid-19 pandemic, is taking all steps to ensure that the farmers do not reach Delhi in large numbers.
The mere pursual of vested interests by certain groups and political parties has managed to spread misinformation in Punjab like wildfire. A mere chat with a farmer of Punjab will make a layman believe that the Central government has done away with the Minimum Support Price (MSP) regime with the passage of the three laws, and the farmlands in Punjab are now simply going to land in the pockets of India’s big industrialists. The snatching of farmers’ land by industrialists, supposed doing away with MSP and garnishing of the same false narratives with religious toxicity with the active support of diaspora separatists has ensured that a Communist dystopia is created in the minds of Punjab’s farmers, who now think of the Modi government as their sworn enemy.
Captain Amarinder Singh could have very well played a constructive role in explaining to the farmers of Punjab that the three revolutionary laws are not against them, but instead are meant to liberate them from the shackles of middlemen and mandi-politics. Being from the Congress party, however, Amarinder Singh sought to add fuel to fire. The Shiromani Akali Dal, with aims to salvage their drowning political footprint in the state, further took to fearmongering susceptible farmers of the state.
Haryana Chief Minister ML Khattar comprehensively demolished the lies of Captain Amarinder Singh and his party and even revealed that the Punjab Chief Minister was avoiding having a telephonic conversation with his counterpart in Haryana for the past few days. This came after Captain Amarinder Singh took to sermonising Khattar on the resistance which farmers were facing in his state from the administrative machinery. He said, “For nearly two months farmers have been protesting peacefully in Punjab without any problem. Why is Haryana govt provoking them by resorting to force? Don’t the farmers have the right to pass peacefully through a public highway?”Captain added, “The hands that feed the nation deserve to be held, not pushed aside.”
It’s a sad irony that on #ConstitutionDay2020 the constitutional right of farmers is being oppressed in this manner. Let them pass @mlkhattar ji, don't push them to the brink. Let them take their voice to Delhi peacefully. pic.twitter.com/48P0rvILVU
— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) November 26, 2020
Chief Minister Khattar replied to such lies, and comprehensively debunked them, when he stated, “I’ve said it earlier and I’m saying it again, I’ll leave politics if there’ll be any trouble on the MSP – therefore, please stop inciting innocent farmers.”Khattar added, “Time for your lies, deception and propaganda is over – let the people see your real face. Please stop putting the lives of people in danger during the Corona pandemic. I urge you to not play with the lives of the people, at least avoid cheap politics during the time of the pandemic.”
The simple fact that no other state of India is witnessing its farmers taking to the streets shows that Punjab’s farmers, to put it simply, have been fooled by political parties and vested interest groups. As a matter of fact, no such protests were witnessed in Punjab when the said laws had already come into existence, albeit as Central government ordinances. It was only in the Monsoon session that the issue of three farm laws being anti-Punjab gained prominence. When they were already implemented by means of ordinances, not a single soul in the state sounded as much as a whimper on the issue.
Despite repeated assurances by the Central government, whether it be on MSP or the security of farmers’ lands, the vested interest groups and parties like Congress and SAD prevailed. Today, the same misinformation campaign is on the cusp of a violent breakout, and the Modi government must take swift steps to prevent the same. Parties like the SAD and Congress, meanwhile, must be brought to task for their shameless fearmongering of farmers.