SAD spokesperson Manjinder Singh Sirsa on Thursday attributed BKU president Bhupinder Singh Mann's recusal from the SC committee to his reluctance to face the opposition from farmers. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court constituted a 4-member panel comprising Mann, agricultural economist Ashok Gulati, Pramod Kumar Joshi- Director, South Asia, International Food Policy Research Institute and Shetkari Sanghatana president Anil Ghanwat to solicit the views of farmers and the Union government. This panel has been directed to submit its recommendations pertaining to the farm laws to the SC within two months from the date of its first sitting.
According to Sirsa, the apex court nominated Mann on the instructions of the Centre. Moreover, he claimed that the BKU president's recusal from the panel was a rejection of the Union government's narrative that the protests are limited to a small group of farmers. The former MLA also predicted that the other three members of the SC-constituted panel shall have to resign soon. Earlier, SAD had cried foul over Mann's inclusion in the SC panel citing his endorsement of Congress leader Amarinder Singh as the Punjab CM in 2017. The BKU president recused himself from the committee "to not compromise the interests of Punjab and farmers of the country".
SAD spokesperson Manjinder Singh Sirsa remarked, "Bhupinder Singh Mann was made a member of the committee by the Supreme Court on the instructions of the government. Bhupinder Singh Mann's resignation today makes it clear that no one is ready to face the opposition of farmers. The government was saying that this is an agitation of a few farmers. But it is clear today that it is a nationwide agitation and nobody will want to stand in opposition against this agitation. Today, Bhupinder Singh Mann (has resigned). The other three members will also have to resign."
The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 aims at freeing the farmers from the constraints of the state Agriculture Produce Market Committees whereby they would be able to sell their produce anywhere. Meanwhile, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 protects and empowers farmers to engage with processors, wholesalers, large retailers, exporters for farm services. This entails the provision of contract farming.
On the other hand, The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 specifies that the supply of foodstuffs including cereals, pulses, potato, edible oilseeds, and oils shall be regulated only under exceptional circumstances. Though 9 meetings between the Centre and the protesting farmers' unions have taken place, no breakthrough could be achieved. In the wake of this, the SC stayed the implementation of the agrarian laws to "assuage the hurt feelings" of farmers and to encourage them to come to the negotiating table with confidence.