Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Sunday lambasted the BJP over the “malicious and derogatory terms” used by its senior leaders against protesting farmers. He asked the party to stop maligning farmers and their genuine fight for justice by calling them offensive names like ‘urban Naxals’, ‘Khalistanis’ and ‘hooligans’.
“If the BJP cannot distinguish between anguished citizens fighting for their survival and terrorists/militants/hooligans, it should give up all pretense of being a people’s party,” the CM said in a statement on Sunday. A party which regards citizens exercising their democratic right of protest as Naxals and terrorists has lost all right to rule over those citizens, he added.
Hitting out at BJP general secretary Tarun Chugh over his description of farmers in Punjab as `urban Naxals’, Amarinder said with these remarks, the BJP leadership had hit a new low in its desperation to promote its political agenda. He pointed out that such protests by angry farmers were taking place not just in Punjab but also in BJP-ruled states such as Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. “Do the farmers protesting in all these places look like Naxals to you? And does that mean law and order has collapsed everywhere?” he asked Chugh.
“What is being seen in all these states, as well as the Delhi borders, is the sorry fall-out of the BJP-led Central government’s failed policy on agriculture, and its mishandling of the situation triggered by the farmers’ protest,” the CM said. Instead of heeding the plea of the `Annadatas’
and responding to their concerns, the BJP was busy trying to demean them and stifle their voice, he lamented.
Pointing out that various farmer leaders had themselves appealed to agitating farmers not to disconnect power to mobile towers, the CM said this clearly showed that what was being witnessed on the ground in some places was a spontaneous manifestation of the wrath of farmers who see a dark future ahead as a result of the new farm laws. He pointed out that kisan unions had stated that they did not want farmers to indulge in such acts. In fact, the unions had advised all protesters, and those standing with the farmers, to port their numbers out of the network of the telecom provider whom they had decided to boycott, he added.
The CM noted that the farmer leaders themselves believed, and were stressing, that it was imperative for the success of their movement to ensure it remains peaceful. “Is that the language of Naxals?” he asked, dubbing the BJP leader’s remarks a shameless reflection of his own cheap and vicious mentality.
In sharp contrast to the BJP, the Congress believed in upholding the people’s Constitutional right of peaceful protest, which even the Supreme Court had validated in the context of the farmers’ agitation, the CM said. “But the BJP and its leaders like Chugh seem to be bent on stifling all such protests with their brazen lies and false propaganda,” he added.