The meeting of 13 members of Sanyukt Kisan Morcha with Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday sparked a controversy with Joginder Singh Ugrahan, president of Bharti Kisan Union (Ugrahan), the largest farmers’ union of Punjab, saying the farmer leaders should not have accepted the invite for the informal talks a day before the scheduled official consultations.
Speaking from New Delhi, Ugrahan said, “A few farmer unions were invited by Union Home Minister Amit Shah for informal talks. They should not have gone. In November, when Delhi Morcha had just started, I was invited for informal talks with Union Home Minister by BJP leader Surjit Jyani, but I had refused and said that I will come only when all farmer unions are invited”.
Ugrahan said this time he was not invited to the meeting with Shah. Stating that there was no need for the talks before official consultations, he warned, “It (the meeting) will raise many doubts in the minds of people.”
BKU (Ugrahan) and Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (KMSC) are not part of the common front of 30 farmer unions in Punjab though they have been coordinating with them.
When the protests shifted to Delhi and various unions from all over India formed the Sanyukt Morcha on December 5, BKU (Ugrahan) and KMSC stayed away.
Sources revealed that the office of Home Minister contacted the Sanyukt Morcha and “invited 5-7 members for informal talks”. The Morcha later agreed to send a delegation of 13 members.
Jagmohan Singh, president of BKU (Dakaunda), and part of the Sanyukt Morcha, expressed dismay at Ugrahan’s statement. “We were not aware that BKU (Ugrahan) was not invited for this informal meeting. However, they should have contacted us instead of approaching the media. We agreed to send 13 members after discussions”.
Those who attended the meeting included Rakesh Singh Tikait from BKU (Tikait), Hannan Mollah of CPI(M), Gurnam Singh Chaduni of BKU (Haryana) and Shiv Kumar Hakka from Madhya Pradesh. The nine farmer leaders from Punjab were Balbir Singh Rajewal, Jagjit Singh Dallewal, Ruldu Singh Mansa, Manjit Singh Rai, Buta Singh Burjgill, Harinder Singh Lakhowal, Dr Darshan Pal, Kulwant Singh Sandhu, and Bhog Singh Mansa.
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