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As Pathankot farmers give cold shoulder, unions focus on mobilising farm labourers in BJP stronghold

Jamhoori Kisan Union has set a target for January 10 to send a big Jatha to Delhi. Unlike other districts of Punjab, Pathankot has not send many protesters to Delhi.

Written by Kamaldeep Singh Brar | Amritsar | January 7, 2021 10:23:32 am
Punjab farmers, Punjab farmers protestCAPTION- A meeting held by BJP Kisan Morcha in village Bhimpur of Pathankot on Tuesday, January 5, 2021.

The Jamhoori Kisan Union has been focusing on mobilising support from landless farm labourers in Pathankot district, a stronghold of the BJP, for the ongoing protest against Centre’s farm laws at Delhi borders.

Under Gurdaspur Parliamentary constituency, represented by BJP MP and Bollywood actor Sunny Deol, Pathankot has shown least response to the ongoing farm agitation. In this district, BJP is holding small meetings and distributing literature to mobilise support in favour of the farm laws, and has termed those who are opposing the same as “anti-Modi”.

“Landowners in Pathankot are mostly Rajput or Mahajans, natural supporters of BJP. They stick with party ideology and majority of them are not responding to the agitation. I remember the time when these farmers had rushed to us to launch an agitation against possibility of removal of subsidy on power to the agriculture sector. But now they are not feeling threatened. The only reason behind this unresponsive behaviour of farmers in Pathankot is that BJP and RSS are lobbying strongly in favour of farm Bills,” said Jamhoori Kisan Union leader Shiv Kumar.

He further said, “It is the reason that we started focusing on farm labourers to mobilise them against farm Bills because they would be equally affected. Farm labourers in the rest of the state are already taking part in the protest. But again it is not that easy to convince farm labourers.”

Jamhoori Kisan Union has set a target for January 10 to send a big Jatha to Delhi. Unlike other districts of Punjab, Pathankot has not send many protesters to Delhi.

Shiv Kumar said, “It is obvious that farm labourers are very dependent on local farmers. BJP and RSS is also forcing them to stay away from farmer unions. They are afraid of coming to public meetings. So we have changed the strategy and hold meetings with two to three families in some houses. It is helpful.”

“The only reason that Pathankot farmers are not responding to our call is that they are under influence of BJP politics. It is true that Sikh farmers from Pathankot are responding to the agitation. But there is no Hindu-Sikh angle to it. It is about the political ideology of BJP for which farmers are overlooking their interests,” he claimed.

Communists, Congress have captured farmers protests: BJP Kisan Morcha

Sham Lal, district president of the BJP Kisan Morcha, said, “Pathankot farmers are most convinced with farm Bills in Punjab. We are getting good response. We are holding Nukar meetings and distributing literature among farmers to make them understand the benefits of the farm Bills.”

He further said, “We tell people how this protest has been captured by the communists and Congress and their only motive is to oppose Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Nowadays we are telling them about the manner in which some Tukde Tukde gang people are opposing the Covid-19 vaccine without any reason. The only reason behind opposing vaccine is political opposition to Modi. Same way, communists and Congress are opposing farm Bills just because of opposition to Modi.”

Sham Lal said they deliver the message their receive from the party high command on ground. “We mostly hold small meetings and never witnessed any opposition. Farmer unions are also trying to push their agenda but they are not much successful. It happens with us also that in a rare case some farmers get offended with our campaign. But most agree with us.”

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