On a day that Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused Opposition parties of “misleading” farmers and “shooting from their shoulders”, the BJP’s former ally, the Shiromani Akali Dal, called the party “the real tukde tukde gang in the country today” while accusing it of trying to pit Hindus against Sikhs in Punjab.
Addressing the media in Bathinda, where some AAP and BJP workers were inducted into the party, Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal said, “If one speaks in favour of the Central government, he is called ‘desh bhakt (patriot)’ and if he speaks out against it, he is branded ‘tukde tukde gang’,” Badal said, adding, “So desperate is the BJP for power that it has no qualms taking the communal route and setting the country aflame. The BJP first set Hindus against Muslims. Now, it is determined to replay the same evil game and re-enact the same tragedy in Punjab.”
He repeated his charge in a tweet on Tuesday, saying, “BJP is the real #TukdeTukdeGang in the country. It has smashed the national unity to pieces, shamelessly inciting Hindus against Muslims & now desperately setting peace-loving Punjabi Hindus against their Sikh brethren esp #farmers. They’re pushing patriotic Punjab into communal flames.”
The Akali Dal had walked out of the National Democratic Alliance over the new farm laws. Sukhbir’s wife and Bathinda MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal had also resigned as Union minister.
On the farm laws, Badal said, “These laws have been made by those who have never done farming.”
Saying that the whole country, “except the BJP”, acknowledges the debt we owe to our “patriotic farmers and soldiers”, he added, “The BJP is provoking people to deny farmers their due. It is so ungrateful to farmers that it is painting them anti-national. Today it is the farmers… Tomorrow, if it suits them, who knows what the BJP might say about our soldiers?”
Later, in a statement issued from the party headquarters in Chandigarh, Sukhbir said, “SAD deems it its national duty to caution the countrymen against BJP’s desperate and destructive game-plan in Punjab.”
At Delhi’s Singhu borders, farmers hardened their stance, saying they will “make” the government repeal these laws, and asserting that their fight has reached a stage where they are “determined” to win, no matter what.
They announced that they would completely block the Chilla border between Delhi and Noida on Wednesday to press for their demands, adding that farmer unions are not running away from negotiations, but the government has to come forward with concrete proposals.
Addressing a press conference at the Singhu Border, farmer leader Jagjeet Singh Dallewal said, “The government is saying ‘we won’t repeal these laws’, we are saying we will make you do it.”
Farmer unions also announced that they would organise a nationwide ‘shraddhanjali’ for all farmers who died during the current protests.
Gurnam Singh Chaduni, Haryana state chief of the Bhartiya Kisan Union, said around 14 farmers have died so far, either during the protests or while on their way to the protest sites.
Those coordinating the protests confirmed the death at Singhu on Tuesday of Gurmeet Singh, 67, a farmer from Kandala village in Punjab’s Mohali district.
With ENS, New Delhi