Punjab has become the first state to formally reject and counter the three controversial farm laws passed by the centre in September amid unprecedented chaos in parliament. On October 20, the state Assembly, in a matter of minutes, first approved a resolution against the centre's laws, and then introduced and cleared three bills, each of which is designed to counter one of the centre's laws. One of the three counter-bills allows authorities to impose fine & a jail term of not less than three years on any individual who buys, or sells, wheat or paddy below the government-mandated MSP (minimum support price). The alleged removal of MSPs, as claimed by critics of the centre's laws, was one of the biggest flash-points in farmers' protests that took place across the country. Shortly before the counter-bills were passed Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said he was "not afraid of resigning" and would not let "farmers suffer or be ruined. “We have stood with you, now it is your turn to stand with us," Singh said in an appeal to farmers. Punjab has emerged as the epicentre of protests against the centre's farm laws, with Congress MP Rahul Gandhi leading tractor rallies in the state. In September, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi asked states where the party was in power to bring in laws to overrule the ones passed by the centre. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has repeatedly assured farmers that MSPs will not be scrapped, but verbal assurances have done little to ease concerns.
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