FORMER PUNJAB Chief Minister and Shiromani Akali Dal patron Parkash Singh Badal’s decision to return his Padma Vibhushan in protest against the central government’s approach to the protesting farmers appears to have embarrassed the ruling BJP, as he is one veteran to whom the party’s top leaders had always shown tremendous respect and reverence. Although the BJP officially refused to comment on Badal’s move, its leaders maintained that it was a “gimmick” to be in the news as the Shiromani Akali Dal – which quit the ruling alliance over the farm legislation – has been “feeling left out in the lurch”, with farm unions stealing the limelight.
AMONG THE demands for an apology from Kangana Ranaut for a tweet, one voice stood out – that of BJP spokesperson R P Singh. Singh, a vocal leader of the BJP in Delhi, sought an apology from the actress, who had always received the backing of the ruling party and its supporters in most of her moves. Ranaut faced heavy backlash after she posted a tweet that misidentified an elderly woman as Shaheen Bagh’s Bilkis Bano, and claimed that she had come to join the farmers’ protest for just Rs 100. Referring to it, Singh tweeted: “respect you for your courage & acting but I will not accept anyone disrespecting or demeaning my mother. You must make a public apology for doing so.”
CPM’s Rajya Sabha MP from Kerala K K Ragesh has been camping in Delhi for the past few days, joining the farmer protests at the Singhu border every day. He was among the eight Opposition MPs who were suspended for “unruly behaviour” during the passage of the controversial farm bills. While the farmer groups have not allowed politicians to join the protests and share stage, Ragesh is there in his capacity as the joint secretary of the Kisan Sabha, the farmers’ wing of the CPM.
The Congress on Wednesday appointed a regular president for the Indian Youth Congress. But at a time when farmers’ outfits are on an unprecedented path of agitation, the Congress’s farmers’ wing is headless. In fact, the All India Kisan Congress has been without a full-time president for a year now since Nata Patole, who was the chairman, was elected Speaker of Maharashtra Assembly. The Congress has also not appointed new heads for its SC, ST and OBC wings. While Nitin Raut, who is a minister in the Maharashtra government, continues to head the SC department, Chhattisgarh minister Tamradhwaj Sahu is the chairman of the OBC department.
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