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From promising similar reforms in Punjab elections to dramatically tearing off laws: The sordid saga of AAP’s U-turns on Farm Laws

Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP had quietly notified one of the Farm Laws in November 2020 even while portraying themselves as against the new Bills

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and his fellow AAP ministers on Thursday resorted to theatrics and sensationalism when he tore off the newly introduced Farm laws, in a bid to extend their support to the protesters demonstrating along the Delhi borders. Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government also passed a resolution demanding the annulment of the three agriculture laws.

Tearing the copies of Farm Laws, Kejriwal said, “I am pained and sad to have to do this. I did not intend to, but I can’t betray the farmers of my country who have been sleeping on the streets in the bitter cold.” He continued his rhetoric, designed to win over the farmers’ support, saying, “I am a citizen of this country first, a chief minister later. This Assembly rejects the three laws and appeals to the Central Government to meet the demands of the farmers.”

With this grand theatrics on the floor of Delhi Assembly, Kejriwal attempted to salvage AAP’s diminishing popularity among the Punjab farmers that had markedly shifted in support of the Congress party which has openly backed the demonstrations.

Kejriwal opposes against Farm Laws while his government in Delhi quietly notified one of the laws

While the Aam Aadmi Party supremo’s passionate grief regarding the ongoing protests was meant to position himself as the saviour of the farmers, his party’s numerous flip-flops on this matter have only served to portray Kejriwal as a wily politician who continuously changes his stances to suit his political ambitions.

Earlier in November, just when the Punjab farmers were threatening to launch an agitation against the new Farm Laws, the Kejriwal-led AAP government quietly notified one of the three laws that he now vigorously opposes. Despite opposing the Farm Laws and extending their support to the farmers, AAP in Delhi discreetly notified one of the three farm laws.

The Delhi government on November 23 notified the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance 2020. It is one of the three laws passed by Central government against which Punjab farmers launched a protest.

When Captain Amarinder Singh cited AAP’s notification as Kejriwal government’s betrayal of the farmers, alleging them of working behind the back of the farmers with the Centre, the Delhi chief minister hit back with a powerful riposte. Except, it made no sense. Kejriwal offered a bizarre explanation, stating that Amarinder Singh criticised him because he did not allow Delhi stadiums to be converted into temporary jails to imprison the protesting farmers.

Kejriwal criticises farm laws after pledging to legislate similar reforms in Punjab in AAP’s 2017 elections manifesto

In yet another instance of U-turn, Kejriwal headed AAP government, which is now fiercely opposing the Farm Laws, had vowed to bring in similar reforms in their 2017 Punjab elections manifesto. In an attempt to woo the farmers, AAP had promised private push to agriculture markets and bringing amendments to the APMC Act to allow farmers to sell outside the state.

AAP manifesto for Punjab 2017 assembly elections

The official Twitter account of the Aam Aadmi Party in 2016 promised of large scale private investments in markets and processing centres for farmers to sell their produce.

In order to seek votes, AAP conveniently promised reforms in the agriculture sector if it were voted to power in the elections. But when they were actually implemented, albeit, by a rival political party, it took a massive u-turn, criticising the Central Government for legislating the very same reforms which it had once promised in their manifesto. Here is the copy of the party’s 2017 Punjab manifesto which is accessible online [PDF].

Rubika Liyaquat shuts up AAP leader Sanjay Singh by highlighting promises made by AAP in Punjab

When ABP News journalist Rubika Liyaquat confronted AAP leader Sanjay Singh on his party’s vacillating stance on the Farm Laws, a thoroughly rattled Sanjay Singh proceeded to heckle and name-calling the journalist.

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Undeterred by Singh’s attempts to deflect the issue away from Aam Aadmi Party’s about-turns, Ms Liyaquat slammed the AAP leader for calling her channel a sellout and highlighted how his party’s official Twitter account had advocated privatisation in agriculture in 2016, a 180 degree turn from its latest theatrics in the Delhi Assembly.

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