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Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Dushyant aide faces farmers’ ire during meet to hear grievances, leaves venue

As soon as the farmers came to know about his arrival, they started gathering there carrying black flags. They raised slogans in front of the Kisan Sewa Kendra while asking the JJP leader to leave the venue.

Written by Sukhbir Siwach | Chandigarh |
Updated: February 20, 2021 5:06:21 am
dushyant chautala janta darbar farmers black flagsFarmers stage a protest against Dushyant Chautala’s associate at Kisan Bhawan in Uchana of Jind district, Friday. (Express Photo)

A senior JJP leader was forced to leave the venue of a ‘janta durbar’ organised to listen to farmers’ grievances after farmers started protesting at the site. The event was being held at Kisan Sewa Kendra in Uchana, the Assembly constituency of Deputy CM Dushyant Chautala, and leader in question was Jagdish Sihag. Sihag is a close associate of Dushyant as is known as his “representative” in political circles in Uchana who is also incharge of JJP’s local unit there.

As soon as the farmers came to know about his arrival, they started gathering there carrying black flags. They raised slogans in front of the Kisan Sewa Kendra while asking the JJP leader to leave the venue. The farmers said since they have boycotted BJP-JJP leaders, they should not hold such events till the ongoing farmer agitation continues.

In view of the farmers’ protest, police was also deployed at the venue. Meanwhile, a delegation of farmers went inside the Bhawan to urge Sihag to leave the venue. However, purported visuals of the Kisan Bhawan showed a minor scuffle between the farmers and supporters of JJP.

Farmers alleged they were pushed back when their delegation had gone to meet Sihag. As soon as the information spread regarding the scuffle, hundreds of farmers in their tractor-trolleys rushed to the Kisan Sewa Kendra and sat on a dharna there. Smelling increasing tension, sources said, Sihag preferred to leave the venue.

Meanwhile, heavy police force was deployed there and the building was locked.

A protesting farmer, Ram Niwas Karsindhu, said, “When BJP-JJP leaders have been boycotted by the farmers, they should stay at their homes. Why do they want to incite the violence by holding such events? They want to weaken our agitation. When the farmers went to meet Sihag, they were misbehaved with and cameras of local journalists were broken….Almost 250 farmers have lost their lives during the ongoing farmer agitation but Dushyant Chautala has not uttered even a single word (to express condolences). Three black laws have been imposed on the farmers at the time of corona pandemic without any demand from the farming community,” added Ram Niwas.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Sihag denied the allegations. “Nobody misbehaved and no scuffle took place there. We just told them that all are farmers here,” he added. During the 2019 Assembly elections, Dushyant had received warm response in Uchana constituency and was welcomed like a hero in the stronghold of former Union Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh. Then, Dushyant had defeated Birender Singh’s wife Prem Lata by a margin of around 45,000 votes.

But now, Dushyant is on the target of agitating farmers “for not standing by them in their battle against three farm laws”. Earlier, the farmers had damaged a temporary helipad at Uchana when they had come to know about possible arrival of Dushyant there to attend a marriage function.

As pressure mounts on JJP to withdraw support from ally BJP in the state amid the standoff between the Centre and farmers over farm laws, Dushyant’s father and JJP leader Ajay Chautala recently said: “Dushyant’s resignation is lying in my pocket and he can give it immediately if it serves any purpose.”

The Uchana incident may further discourage the BJP-JJP leaders to move to villages to try and hard sell the new laws to the farmers.

Recently, there were reports that the BJP high command has asked its leaders to go to the farmers to allay their fears over the farm laws. However, the BJP-JJP leaders have faced protests by angry farmers whenever they have tried to move to the villages even to hold public meetings during the past two months. Farmers’ opposition to BJP-JJP leaders has continued despite police lodging several FIRs against them.

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