SOON AFTER the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) snapped ties with BJP over the farm Bills issue, leaders of various farm unions of Punjab stated that their target now is the BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the “corporate companies that are keen to come to Punjab”. They maintained that they will not be collaborating with any political party as “all of them have lost their credibility”, adding that “Akalis took this step targeting 2022 Vidhan Sabha polls”.
Bharti Kisan Union (Ugrahan) Bathinda unit in-charge Shingara Singh Mann said, “First Harsimrat Badal resigned from Union Cabinet. However, despite that, Akali Dal was not getting the support of farmers as we had said that till the time they are part of government, they are supporting the Bills. Hence, looking at the anger of farmers they snapped ties with BJP. It was because of farmers’ pressure and 2022 Vidhan Sabha polls that both decisions have been taken. Not because Akali Dal was fighting for principles because we have videos of the Badals praising these Bills and saying that protesters were playing to the tune of opposition parties.”
Mann further said, “Now they (SAD) have come out of alliance, to save their own skins and please a section of the vote bank, nothing for us but for their own self interests. However, now we are having direct targets and that is BJP, Narendra Modi and corporates. Our fight is now with BJP to get these farm Bills rolled back. They have started paddy procurement three days early, but our struggle will not die down. We will do harvesting, will sell our produce and will sow wheat, but our struggle will continue. The PM is mistaken that he can divert our attention.”
The BKU (Ugrahan) leader said that on Monday, they will be celebrating the birthday of Bhagat Singh, and on Tuesday, they will have a meeting to discuss the next plan of action.
Satnam Singh Pannu, president of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangh committee, who was sitting at a ‘Rail Roko’ dharna at Basti Tenka wali in Ferozepur along with farmers, said, “BJP is our direct target and we have already boycotted the party in our villages. But SAD is not absolved from betraying farmers as Badals kept on praising the Bills for two and a half months and are now under pressure are taking such steps. SAD is targeting a vote bank with an eye on the 2022 polls. Political parties have lost their credibility. This is the reason that 31 farm unions don’t want to walk with any political party and are rather going all alone. We are on roads, our families are on roads and the PM is not bothered at all. He is in the habit of imposing his decisions, we are not going to accept his diktats.” A ‘Rail Roko’ is also going on at Devidaspura village of Amritsar.
Sukhwinder Singh from Dhilwan village of Barnala, who is president of the unemployed B.Ed Teachers’ Union, said, “People’s anger against political parties, SAD-BJP’s role in farm Bills, U-turn of SAD and later people’s unity to come on a common platform against farm Bills has forced Akalis to snap ties with BJP. It is a very late step to save their vote bank and to shed crocodile tears for the benefit of the farmers.” This union has supported farmers on farm Bills issues and their members sit in dharnas as well.
Jagmohan Singh Patiala, general secretary of BKU (Dakaunda), said, ”Better late than never. Our farmer union members will be meeting before the October 1 indefinite ‘Rail Roko’ of 31 farmer organisations where we will talk about this issue.”
Bhagwant Samaon, president of Mazdoor Mukti Morcha Punjab, said, ”Akali Dal has snapped ties with BJP targeting 2022 Vidhan Sabha polls and also to let people show their faces in villages as ‘Boycott BJP’ boards have already started coming up in villages.”
He added, “They praised the Bills till September first week and later when they saw that youth, women all are coming on roads, they got bewildered and hence took these steps. In other words, you can say that farmers’ and labourers’ struggle has shaken the Badals’ mansion.”
Samaon said, “Our direct fight was with BJP earlier as well over the farm Bills issue, but SAD had an alliance with them earlier, so they too were party to it. Now, we will be more focused to fight over farm Bills with a single target over the Narendra Modi led BJP government.”
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