January 9, 2022 1:30:54 am
On Saturday, much before the election commission had announced the date for polls in any of the five states, farmer union leaders had started circulating video messages in Hindi stating that the people of Uttar Pradesh now had a great responsibility to vote judiciously.
In one such message, Sarwan Singh Pandher, general secretary of Kisan Mazdoor Sangrash Committee (KMSC) said, “The BJP is projecting a very wrong picture of Punjabis. They brand us as terrorists and Khalistanis. They had been doing this during our Kisan Aandolan. After that, they had gone quiet briefly. But now after the security breach of PM Modi’s convoy, they have restarted blaming farmers. This matter [that of security breach] should be probed definitely. But this isn’t the first time something like this has happened. In June 2018 the PM’s convoy had got stuck in a traffic jam in Uttar Pradesh when Yogi Adityanath was the CM. In 2009, the then PM, Dr Manmohan Singh, had barely managed to dodge a shoe that was thrown at him in Ahmedabad, where Narendra Modi was the CM.”
He added, “Now a bigger responsibility lies on the UP voters to vote judiciously. All those who indulge in hate politics, those who don’t listen to the voice of farmers and labourers shouldn’t be voted for. The security breach issue is being given a political colour because they want to delay making MSP a legal guarantee and even don’t want to quash police cases against farmers.” Pandher sent his message in both Hindi as well as Punjabi as he believed “our UP brothers and sisters should know the truth.”
Rajinder Singh Deep Singh Wala, vice-president of Kirti Kisan Union has also circulated a message in Hindi in which he says, “Many politicians were quick to surmise that there was a threat to the PM’s security. In fact, we are being projected in a bad light. The BJP had been calling us separatists since the beginning of our agitation. Now, it is time for the people to think wisely as to who they want to bring in power. I am sure that the Kisan Aandolan has made everyone aware of the style of working of the BJP.”
Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan, general secretary of BKU-Ugrahan, said, “Farmers had already announced a protest against Modi and they had mentioned that on January 5 they will be going towards the district headquarters to burn effigies of the PM. However, when they were moving towards the district headquarters, they were stopped by the police and they staged dharnas at the same locations. The BJP now is concocting a different story. Our protests had been planned much in advance and we had been doing announcements in villages since January 1 asking people not to go to Modi’s rally. The buses hired by the BJP were vacant. They made this lame excuse just to blame us.”
He added, “The PM had got information about the empty pandal and hence in an effort to save face, a road trip was planned and this issue blew up. Regarding the security threat, it is a matter of investigation. However defaming Punjabis is not right.”
Jagmohan Singh Patiala, general secretary of BKU Dakaunda said, “We had done announcements through village gurdwaras for three days asking people not to go to Modi’s rally. We had appealed to the people and they complied. Now that polls have come, let people decide who they should vote for.”
Balbir Singh Rajewal, president of farmers’ political outfit, Sanyukt Samaj Morcha, in a video message said, “Hindus and Sikhs live in harmony with each other in Punjab. But the BJP is painting the wrong picture of Punjabis.We appeal to the people to not pay heed to the BJP. Our unity will remain strong like before.”
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