September 28, 2020 4:50:17 am
While the Assembly elections in Punjab are still over 16 months away, the ongoing farmers’ agitation against the legislations passed recently by the Parliament and given assent by President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday has rendered Punjab politically hot amid Covid-19 peak.
While the farmers are organising protests and rail-roko agitations, all political parties are trying to outdo each other to attract the attention of the peasantry, a major chunk of vote-bank in the state. On Shaheed-E-Azam Bhagat Singh’s birth anniversary on Monday, the state is set to witness heightened political activity.
The upheaval in the past few days prompted SAD leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal to quit the Union Cabinet and party to break 24-year-old ties with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The Congress government is looking at ways and means to ensure that the state is able to circumvent the laws.
Even though the last Assembly election was held in February 2017 and next election would be around February 2022, the parties are already preparing to mobilise their cadres from now on. The Congress has chosen Bhagat Singh’s bith anniversary on September 28 to organise a dharna against farm legislations at his birth place, Khatkar Kalan. Congress general secretary, Harish Rawat, who was recently appointed Punjab Congress affairs incharge, would be participating in the dharna along with Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, PPCC chief Sunil Jakhar, all Cabinet ministers, MLAs and leaders. Rawat was earlier planning to take a trip to the Golden Temple in Amritsar to mark his maiden visit to the state after getting the charge. But the Congress decided to introduce him to the state on Bhagat Singh’s birth anniversary amid the revolt by the farmers.
“By getting him at Khatkar Kalan, our idea is to channelise workers’ energy. He is a mature person and the emphasis is on finding a solution now by channelising the anger of the workers against the Centre. Farmers interests have to prevail,” said Jakhar adding that the party was planning a nationwide protest on Gandhi Jyanti on October 2.
The Akali Dal has given a call for October 1 for the party workers to start from three temporal seats of Sikhs in Punjab, the Akal Takht in Amritsar, Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib in Anandpur Sahib and Takht Sri Damdama Sahib in Talwandi Sabo and congregate in Chandigarh. “We will be getting our workers from all parts of the state, bow at these Takhts and then move towards Chandigarh. There we will hand over a memorandum to the Governor against these legislations,” Dr Daljit Singh Cheema, SAD spokesperson said.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)’s Bhagwant Mann is telling village panchayats to call Gram Sabhas and get resolutions passed against the legislations and and send it to them so that they can forward it to the government. Leader of Opposition Harpal Cheema said they will be gheraoing the residences of BJP leaders, MPs and Ministers in the coming days.
Apart from the political leaders, Punjabi singers and actors too have come out in support of farmers. Amid a feeling that Majha was lukewarm to the agitation, several prominent faces like Harbhajan Mann, Ranjeet Bawa, Harjeet Harman, Sandeep Brar, Kanwar Grewal, Lakha Sidhana are organising a protest in Batala on Monday to raise voice in favour of farmers.
The farmers organisations have announced that they would not take it lying down. “Come what may, we will ensure that the government has to withdraw these legislations. We will not withdraw our protests,” said Darshan Singh Kokri Kalan, of Bharti Kisan Union (Ugrahan).
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