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Friday, October 22, 2021

To protest Lakhimpur violence, Punjab Cong gives infighting a break

In Chandigarh, PPCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu staged a protest outside Punjab Raj Bhawan along with seven MLAs from where he was detained by Chandigarh Police and released after sometime. Punjab Youth Congress president Brinder Dhillon was also a part of the protest along with Sidhu.

Written by Kanchan Vasdev | Chandigarh |
Updated: October 5, 2021 11:23:27 am
Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu and party workers detained outside Punjab Raj Bhawan where they were protesting over the Lakhimpur Kheri incident, Monday.

The Lakhimpur Kheri incident united the otherwise warring Punjab Congress leaders, who registered strong protests in Chandigarh and Uttar Pradesh on Monday.

Even as Uttar Pradesh government denied permission to Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi for the state government’s chopper to land in UP and banned Deputy CM Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa to disembark from a plane at the Lucknow airport, Randhawa reached Saharanpur by road and was detained by the police.

In Chandigarh, PPCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu staged a protest outside Punjab Raj Bhawan along with seven MLAs from where he was detained by Chandigarh Police and released after sometime. Punjab Youth Congress president Brinder Dhillon was also a part of the protest along with Sidhu.

A statement by the PPCC said that Sidhu had also given a call to all block and district Congress leaders to stage protests at their level across the state.

Later in the evening, Cabinet ministers led by CM Channi handed a memorandum to Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit seeking action against the accused in the case. The memorandum also reiterated the need to urgently repeal the three farm laws.

Farmers with mortal remains of their family members who were killed in the violence in Lakhimpur Kheri. (PTI Photo)

Sources said that as the cracks in Punjab Congress had been wide open, the high command intervened and asked state Congress leaders to hold protests from UP to Punjab.

“They mobilised the government, the PPCC, PYC and the Cabinet to put up a strong protest as AICC leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was holding the fort in UP,” a leader, privy to the developments, said.
It is also learnt that the high command also directed the Cabinet, already scheduled for Monday, to defer all items on agenda and only pass a resolution to condemn the incident.

 

Sidhu, supported by a dozen MLAs, staged a sit-in in front of the main gate and raised slogans against the central government. After nearly an hour, the Punjab Congress President was arrested along with his associates.

He castigated the BJP for the atrocities committed by the UP Police against the Congress national leader Priyanka Gandhi who reached to support the farmers.

While protesting, Sidhu demanded strict action against the “killers of farmers” and removal of the Union Minister alleged to be linked to the attack. He also demanded that a case of sedition should be registered against Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar for making incendiary and provocative speeches against farmers.

A source in the Congress said, “It was a flash protest. Hence, there was no time to call all the MLAs as Sidhu had left Patiala in the morning to reach Chandigarh. If we had time, we would have called all the MLAs.”

Randhawa, who had announced last evening that he would be reaching Lakhimpur in solidarity with the farmers’ families, could not take a flight due to preventive orders of UP government in view of Section 144 imposed in Lakhimpur.

Farmers during a protest in Lakhimpur (Express photo/Vishal Srivastav)

Later, Channi also sought permission for his chopper to land in UP, but to no avail.
However, Randhawa, accompanied by a few MLAs, took the road route but was stopped at Saharanpur and detained by the police.

Former PPCC president Sunil Jakhar also condemned the incident. He appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and PPCC chief Navjot Sidhu to visit Lakhimpur and show solidarity to victim families.
Rajya Sabha MP Partap Singh Bajwa wrote to the President demanding resignation of UP and Haryana Chief Ministers.

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