BJP’s Punjab spokesperson Anil Sareen on Sunday said the party would be reaching out to farmers “to make them understand the benefits of the farm bills”.
The move comes a day after state farmers announced a ‘social boycott’ of Gurdaspur MP Sunny Deol, who contested the Lok Sabha elections on a BJP ticket, saying that he had “failed to understand the pain of farmers”. Last Tuesday, agitating farmers had even announced that any Punjab MP who supports the farm Bills in Parliament will not be allowed to enter the villages.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Sareen said, “They are our brothers and sisters, we will be reaching out to them and will make them understand benefits of farm bills in which MSP is going to stay and even Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act is going to stay. Bills are just giving additional opportunities to farmers and are not taking away anything that is existing already. Bills are rather making things better for farmers, but Congress and AAP are misleading farmers despite the fact that they themselves had made vegetables out of APMC in a few Congress-led states about five years ago. Later, the Punjab government had also proposed similar amendments in their manifesto and they have done amendments as well. Hence, I fail to understand as why farmers are being misguided.”
He further said, “Our cadre will be reaching out to masses and we will make them understand Bills properly. They are our own, if they have got some misunderstanding, we will clear it.”
Sareen added, “We had already reached out to them after ordinances were announced on June 5. Our state president Ashwani Sharma had himself gone to farmer union leaders and asked them to get their doubts cleared and he will even get their meeting arranged with the Union agriculture minister. But they did not meet anyone.”
Parveen Bansal, vice-president of BJP’s Punjab unit, said, “I feel somewhere we could not reach out to the masses in time to explain the ordinances much before they were to be tabled in Parliament. However, we will still make them understand the benefits of these Bills and will also expose AAP and Congress’s ulterior motives to misguide farmers.”
He added, “Till date, Modiji has done what he has promised and he will double the income of farmers by 2022 as per his promise. Farmers need to understand these Bills.”
Farmers as well as ahrtiyas have stated that they will not let any BJP worker or leader enter their villages/mandis. This has made the task of BJP leaders difficult. On Saturday, Budhlada Mandi in Mansa had announced that they would not allow BJP workers into their mandis. “Our mandi had a strong base of RSS in the past. They always had been soft to BJP, but now they have said that they will not allow even a worker in the mandi. Let BJP come in our area, we will see as how they will present their position,” said Gurlabh Singh Mahal, convenor of Savidhan Bachao Manch of Mansa, adding that a meeting has been called on Monday to discuss a BJP boycott in all of Mansa district.
Last year, in a membership drive, the BJP had reached out in rural as well as urban areas and registered 10 lakh new members in a span of six months (July to December 2019), putting a question mark on how the party plans to face the rural vote bank.
Some farmers said that since June, the BJP leadership had not been seen reaching out to villagers to discuss the farm ordinances, instead they had just reached out to few farmer union leaders to ask about their doubts.
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