CHANDIGARH: Days after returning his Padma Vibhushan, Akali Dal stalwart Parkash Singh Badal on Monday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to scrap the three new central farm laws, claiming they have pushed the country into a deep turmoil.
In a four-page letter, Badal called upon the Prime Minister to "show magnanimity" and withdraw these laws as a first step towards the resolution of the serious crisis confronting the country today.
This letter follows his December 3 announcement about returning Padma Vibhushan in protest against the farm laws.
Punjab's five-time Chief Minister Badal stressed upon the need for making India "a truly federal country", adding "the roots of the ongoing crisis lie in the abdication of our commitment to the federal approach".
"The three Acts in question that have pushed the country into a deep turmoil must be withdrawn without making farmers and their families endure any more suffering in this biting cold," Badal said in his letter.
Asserting that he was writing the letter at a time when the problems facing the country are "fast assuming the proportions of a grave crisis", he said, "Our approach towards these needs an immediate course correction."
"I am deeply worried about the ongoing farmers' crisis," he said.
He said the government would have done well to enact legislation "affecting the destiny of millions and millions of farmers" only after taking their representatives and farmer-friendly political parties like the Shiromani Akali Dal in confidence.
He said when it became clear that the three Ordinances were "not finding acceptance" even among the government's alliance partners like the SAD, the "obvious" course open to the government was to convene an all-party meeting.
"There is a democratic convention in our country to follow this course whenever there is a national stalemate," he asserted.
"The government would not have been bound to accept the Opposition's views but it would have gained from their wisdom. I was surprised that this option was not taken," he said.
The "failure" to consult states on an issue that concerns nearly 70 per cent of the country's population shows the government's "indifference to or rejection of the federal principle," he said.
"This was unbelievable because you have yourself been among the biggest champions of federal structure," he told the PM, adding as Gujarat CM, Modi had always advocated more powers to and a greater role of states.
"I say this because I sincerely believe that the roots of the ongoing crisis lie in the abdication of our commitment to the federal approach," said Badal.
The nonagenarian leader said the message from the "current crisis" is about the need to avoid confrontation as a way to address social and political issues.
He said he had often confronted situations involving people with conflicting backgrounds and persuasions making diverse and conflicting demands.
"I have battled against the dictatorship during the Emergency days. My experience tells me that respect for peaceful democratic values offers us the best solutions to even the most complex and intractable problems," he asserted.
"The country has seen how statesmen like Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee understood and respected the beauty of the diversity of our nation and turned it into an asset," he noted.
He told Prime Minister Modi that the ongoing "farmers' crisis" needs his "immediate and undivided attention".
"In the circumstances, I strongly urge you to show magnanimity in approach and to personally intervene to get the stalemate broken," said Badal.