CHANDIGARH: Failing to get an audience with President Ram Nath Kovind, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh said he will lead a sit-in of MLAs at Delhi’s Raj Ghat on Wednesday to highlight the state’s power crisis and critical essential supply situation amid Centre’s refusal to allow goods trains’ movement.
All coal-fed power plants are on the verge of shutting down following suspension of coal-carrying goods trains. Agricultural and vegetable supplies too are widely affected. The CM said the symbolic protest at Raj Ghat was meant to bring the state’s grim situation to the Centre’s notice. Since prohibitory orders under Section 144 were in place in Delhi, MLAs will go from Punjab Bhawan to the memorial of the Father of the Nation in batches of four, he said, adding he will lead the first batch.
Amarinder renewed his appeal to MLAs of other Punjab parties to join the dharna in the interest of the state. He said the ground situation in the state was grim after the railways decided not to ply goods trains even after the farmers protesting the new farm laws eased their blockade. “The people were staring at a dark festival season,” said the CM.
The Chief Minister’s Office on October 21 wrote to the Rashtrapati Bhavan seeking a meeting with the President after the state Assembly unanimously passed a resolution for such a meeting. The Assembly had also passed a resolution seeking the President’s intervention on the new farm laws. The President’s office responded to a reminder on October 29 rejecting the request for a meeting on the grounds that the state amendment bills were pending with the Governor.
The CMO sent another letter on Monday, saying the CM and MLAs needed to inform the President of the situation in the state. The President’s office responded saying the request cannot be accepted “at this juncture” for reasons cited earlier. The CM said two Central ministers too had refused to meet Congress MPs from Punjab to discuss suspension of goods trains and non-payment of GST dues.