Updated: September 21, 2021 1:42:03 am
Punjab’s 16th Chief Minister, Charanjit Singh Channi, took the oath of office on Monday and immediately reached out to protesting farmers — a core vote bank for the upcoming Assembly elections — issuing a statement in the support of their ongoing struggle against three contentious agricultural laws passed by Parliament last year.
Channi, in his letter, urged the Centre to take back the three farm laws, while adding that he would rather that his head was severed than the protesting farmers be harmed.
Reacting to his first statement in support of farmers, Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan, general secretary of BKU-Ugrahan said, “Till now many politicians have issued many statements and we have allowed ourselves to be fooled by all of them. A number of CMs, the PM, MLAs, MPs all issue so many statements..But how many of them actually stand by them later. He has spoken about the farmers, which is a good thing. But we want to see him perform in the coming days and we will know whether he sticks to his words or not.”
Buta Singh Burjgill, president of BKU-Dakaunda, echoed Kokrikalan and added,” Sukhbir Singh Badal had also said once that he can sacrifice his head for the farmers. These are emotional statements that make for good headlines. Let’s see how he works in the coming days. No doubt he is a short term CM. If he actually works towards keeping his word, then he will have our support. Otherwise, this will again be just another statement made by a politician.”
Rajinder Singh Deepsinghwala, general secretary of Kirti Kisan Union, on the other hand, said, “All the blame was put on former CM Captain Amarinder Singh. All the others have come out clean. A government is not run by one man. If promises are not being fulfilled, then it is everyone’s fault, not just Captain Amarinder’s. Replacing the CM is not the solution. The new CM has an obvious political compulsion to speak in favor of the farmers. His statement is emotional. But if he does something substantial and keeps his word, then that will be the real change.”
Deepsinghwala added, “We would have appreciated if he [Channi] had spoken about loan waiver instead as interests are mounting for us and the government has waived only a fraction of our farm loans.”
Jagmohan Singh Patiala, general secretary of BKU-Dakaunda added, “Replacing the CM was the internal matter of the party. We as people just want results. If he helps in getting farm laws repealed, his actions will matter. Otherwise, such statements are often given by many politicians.”
Farmers, meanwhile, said they are busy making arrangements for the upcoming Bharat Bandh on September 27 to be a success.
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