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Saturday, January 16, 2021

Punjab Cong protest at Jantar Mantar: ‘If farmers sleep on the road, how can we stay inside our homes’

These protesting leaders include Ludhiana MP Ravneet Singh Bittu, Amritsar MP Gurjeet Singh Aujla and Khadoor Sahib MP Jasbir Singh Dimpa and Kulbir Singh Zira, the MLA from Zira constituency in Ferozepur district.

Written by Raakhi Jagga | Ludhiana | December 17, 2020 6:10:14 pm
New Delhi: Congress MP's from Punjab Jasbir Singh Gill (L), Gurjit Singh Aujla (C), along with others sit on a dharna demanding the withdrawal of new farm laws and to hold the Winter Session of Parliament, at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi (PTI)

While farmers have barred politicians from their protest stage, leaders of the Punjab Congress have been sitting on a day-night dharna at Jantar Mantar since December 6. Three Congress MPs and one MLA from Punjab have been sleeping on the roadside as part of their protest. These protesting leaders include Ludhiana MP Ravneet Singh Bittu, Amritsar MP Gurjeet Singh Aujla and Khadoor Sahib MP Jasbir Singh Dimpa and Kulbir Singh Zira, the MLA from Zira constituency in Ferozepur district.

Bittu said, “It has now become a ‘lok lehar’. People are coming on their own and the government needs to understand how a mass movement has no political affiliation. I am aware that farmers don’t want any politician on their stage and we respect that decision. However, when our farmer is sleeping on the roads in this biting cold, how can we sleep inside our cosy rooms. It is my support to the farmers of my nation that I am also sleeping on road like them and will remain here till the time farmers stay on Delhi borders protesting against farm laws.”

Aujla had initially gone to farmers’ pandal as well at Singhu border when Delhi Morcha had just started but farmers had not entertained him. Farmers had even turned away many other politicians saying that this isn’t a political movement.

Bittu said, “We started this dharna demanding winter session of Parliament as black laws against farmers were passed from Parliament and hence they need to be discussed here only, but government cunningly has suspended winter session citing the pandemic. So, our protest stands as it is. We were not allowed to sit here on dharna for few days, but finally we got written permission and following Covid guidelines only 4-5 persons sit here and sleep here 24×7. Cops did not even allow us to use tarpaulin sheet over our heads for few days, now they have allowed us to use it. Every day, few Congress leaders from Punjab or other parts of country also come here. Heavy police security has been deployed here and cops raise objection if strength is increased.”

Two days ago, PPCC President Sunil Kumar Jakhar had come, he informed. Congress MP Shashi Tharoor had also taken part in the protest here for a day with Punjab MPs. Likewise, Congress leaders from Faridabad and other parts around Delhi had also come during the day hours, informed Aujla.

He added that despite having fever he will not leave the Jantar Mantar morcha.

Talking with The Indian Express, Jakhar said, “From now onwards, daily up to 5 Congressmen from Punjab will be going to Jantar Mantar to support our farmers. They will be going district wise… they will be MLAs/ Zila Parishad members, chairmen of various boards. If our farmers are on roads, how can we be in our rooms.”

Bittu said, “I appeal all MPs of Punjab and other states who are in support of farmers that they should also sleep on roads if not in Delhi then outside their houses. Stay there 24×7. Without farmers and farming, we are nothing. Farmers have made up their mind to get the farm laws repealed and it is people’s power…political parties’ power is nothing before them. They need to see the determination of people. Repeal is their only demand and we support them.”

Bittu said that people who are helping farmers also come and serve langar to them during the day.

“We go home just to take bath, otherwise, we stay on the road only. It rained one night, but we stayed put. There are no political speeches being made here. It is a silent protest in support of farmers and against the high headedness of government,” he added.

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