July 8, 2021 6:11:32 am
There is no guarantee that the farmers’ demands will be met if the BJP is defeated in Uttar Pradesh and the only way to “change the system” is if farm unions contest the forthcoming Punjab Assembly elections, form the government and “present an alternative model”, Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Gurnam Singh Chaduni on Wednesday said.
“We say that we want to change the system, but don’t apply enough thought to what has to be done to realise this…the BJP and the Congress have not been able to change the system…then from whom should we expect to do this?…If we have to change the system, then we will have to formulate a plan. And that plan should be ‘Mission Punjab’,” Chaduni said in a video statement.
Punjab goes to the polls early next year.
The statement came a day before the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SMK), which is spearheading the farmers’ agitation, will protests across India against the hike in diesel, petrol and cooking gas prices. The SKM, of which Chaduni is a key leader, has planned a ‘mahapanchayat’ in September and other activities in Uttar Pradesh, which to goes to the polls next year.
“A rally has been planned (in UP) for September 5 and after that other plans will be chalked out. Then the assembly elections (likely) to be held in February. We will defeat BJP in the elections. What is the guarantee that our demands will be accepted even if BJP is defeated in the entire country? Can we think the farmers are poor only since BJP came into power? If we see the history of past 20 years, 3.5 lakh-4 lakh farmers have committed suicide because of debt,” said Chaduni, who heads the Haryana unit of BKU.
“If you vote for the gangs of looteras, can you hope they will introduce laws for you? Why will they make laws for you? They will make laws for themselves,” said Chaduni, adding that farmer leaders need to contest the assembly polls in Punjab and form government to offer a model to the entire country. Chaduni urged the farmer leaders, intellectuals and other sections of the society to consider his suggestions.
The SKM was quick to distance itself from Chaduni’s statement. “SKM clarifies that the joint front did not have anyone present ideas, nor have discussions and decisions about Punjab elections…nothing like “Mission Punjab” has been decided by SKM. Therefore, it appeals to media not to attribute individual farmer leader’s announcements and statements to SKM,” the joint front said in a statement.
Chaduni, in his video statement explained why it would be difficult to get accepted the demands of farmers even if they succeed to defeat BJP in Uttar Pradesh like they did in West Bengal. “The BJP was defeated there (Bengal), but did the Centre then accept our demand,” Chaduni asked.
He said that even the opposition has not categorically stated that if they come to power these laws will be scrapped and a law to guarantee MSP will be framed.
The agitation against the central farm laws began from Punjab last year before it spread to other parts, with the protesting farmers now sitting at Delhi’s borders for over seven months in support of their demands to roll back the three legislations and demanding that a new one guaranteeing the MSP be framed.
“So many bodies from Punjab are playing an active role in this agitation. But if they enter into the poll arena and contest polls and capture power and show how things can be changed, this can be presented as a sample, a model to show how a government can be run, which can act as an example for the rest of the country,” said Chaduni.
“There should be a government of aam janta in Punjab,” said Chaduni terming the mainstream parties as “companies who work for money and power”.
He said the people of Punjab are looking for a change. “Why can’t we win polls in Punjab…people of Punjab want a change in the system. “Why can’t we win elections? All sections of the society including traders, majdoor, shopkeepers and farmers have been crushed… the income of 97 per cent of people has declined while the income of 3 per cent has gone up. “The farmers and majdoor who are associated with agriculture have 65 per cent votes and now the people from towns too are ready to support you,” he added.
Chaduni’s statement evoked a sharp reaction from the BJP.
Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar said, “There is politics behind this agitation. They are running it because of political motivation. This agitation has nothing to do with the problems of farmers. The farmer considers the new laws as good.”
In Punjab, senior BJP leader Harjit Singh Grewal said that it is now clear that the agitating unions were driven by political motives. “The fact that their motive is political is no longer hidden,” said Grewal.
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