GoI encroaching upon rights of states, jeopardising basic structure of democracy: Amarinder

CHANDIGARH: Attacking the BJP-led Centre over farm laws and other issues, Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh on Monday accused it of “jeopardising” the basic structure of democracy by allegedly “encroaching upon” the rights of states.
He castigated the Central government over its “one-sided decision” to impose the farm laws and the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) on the state’s farming community.
In the name of “so-called reforms”, he alleged, the Centre was trying to destroy the existing relations and systems that had worked well for over 100 years.
Punjab’s farmers and arhtiyas (commission agents) have enjoyed age-old cordial ties among them, which the Centre was “hellbent on damaging”, he alleged, terming the government’s “tough posturing and ill-conceived” decisions on farm laws as being against the basic spirit of federalism.
He said that during his earlier tenure, he enjoyed full confidence and support of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and subsequently of Manmohan Singh, in all major policy decisions/development issues related to Punjab, according to a government statement.
He was speaking during the virtual launch of a two-day Kisan Mela organised by the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana.
The chief minister expressed solidarity with the farmers against the “black” farm laws imposed by the Centre “in violation” of the 7th Schedule of the Constitution which clearly states that agriculture is a state subject.
“The Centre has deliberately impinged upon the state’s power, thus jeopardizing the basic structure of democracy,” he alleged.
Singh stressed that the Centre should have taken the farmers into confidence before enactment of these legislations.
“Had the Centre been sincere about finding a workable solution to this problem, it would have either consulted the Punjab government or the state’s farmers as Punjab alone contributes over 40 per cent of foodgrain to the national pool,” he asserted.

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