The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), on Thursday alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is defaming farmers in Punjab over the straw burning issue to divert people’s attention from the Morbi Bridge tragedy in Gujarat.
AAP Punjab Chief Spokesperson Malvinder Singh Kang told a press conference that the BJP is defaming Punjab farmers over farm fires in the state, even as the strong action has led to a significant drop in the number of incidents this year compared to previous years. Punjab government led by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann.
He said the BJP was playing revenge politics to take revenge from farmers for forcing the Center to scrap the draconian three-farm law last year. For this reason BJP’s Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has also leveled baseless allegations against Punjab and its farmers.
Presenting data on North India with a poor Air Quality Index (AQI), Kang said only three cities in Punjab are among the 32 cities while Haryana has more than nine cities in the list, the highest number among any state across the country.
Nevertheless, the BJP and the Center have lashed out at the state’s hardworking and resilient farmers, blaming them for the environmental menace.
Kang said the BJP should clarify its position on why its leaders are silent on the worse AQI in Faridabad, Manesar, Gurgaon, Sonipat, Gwalior, Indore and other states where the saffron party is in power.
He said that instead of not burning rice straw, CM Mann has submitted a solution to burning paddy straw by offering financial assistance of Rs 2500 to the farmers collectively. He said that instead of accepting this proposal, the Center flatly refused to bail out the farmers.
Kang said thanks to the Punjab Chief Minister’s earnest efforts to protect the environment, Punjab has now covered 31.44 lakh hectares under paddy while Haryana has only 13.90 lakh hectares, yet pollution levels are rising in the BJP-ruled state.
The AAP leader said the BJP government had pressured officers to register FIRs against farmers for stubble burning through the National Green Tribunal and said it exposed BJP’s double standards and anti-farmer stand before the farmers and people of the country.