October 8, 2021 10:09:11 pm
PPCC president Navjot Singh Sidhu on Friday started his hunger strike at slain journalist Ratan Kashyap’s residence in Lakhimpur Kheri after meeting families of the farmers who were mowed down allegedly by Union Minister of State Ajay Mishra’s son.
Sidhu, who reached Lakhimpur Kheri on Friday evening, a day after leading a march from Mohali to Uttar Pradesh and was detained by the police, finally met the families of the farmers who lost their lives in the violence.
He had given an ultimatum to the Uttar Pradesh government on Thursday that he would be sitting on hunger strike, wherever he would be, until the accused in the violence was not arrested or made to join investigation.
He sat on hunger strike hours after Mishra announced that his son would be surrendering on Saturday.
The PPCC chief, accompanied by four Congress MLAs from Punjab, had left for Lakhimpur Kheri from Bajpur in the afternoon.
The Congress is learnt to have worked on choosing the five-member delegation by striking a balance of caste combination. The delegation comprised two Jat Sikhs — Sidhu and PPCC working president Kuljit Singh Nagra — a Hindu in Cabinet minister Vijay Inder Singla, a Dalit Hindu in MLA Dr Raj Kumar Chabbewal and an OBC Hindu in MLA Madan Lal Jalalpur.
Sources said that the Congress had carefully chosen the delegation so that it does not look like a delegation of Sikh leaders in UP. Earlier, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, who has carefully built a panthic image for himself, had gone to UP but was detained at the border. He was accompanied by Sikh MLAs.
“The party thought it through and decided that it should work out caste combinations and have more Hindus than Sikhs. The BJP is already working on polarising Hindus in UP. We do no want crusade look like a fight for Sikhs. We want it to look like a fight for justice by the Congress, and by Punjabi Hindus who are clean shaven,” a leader, privy to discussions on the issue, told The Indian Express.
Sidhu will spend the night at the slain journalist’s house. “He is sitting on hunger strike at the journalist’s house, who is a Hindu. That is also a deliberate move,” said the leader.
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