The Bharti Kisan Union (Lakhowal) has announced support to the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) on 9 out of the 10 seats it is contesting this election, but said it won’t support its BJP, which is contesting the remaining 3 seats. They also denied support to Congress.
Union president Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, who remained as Mandi board chairman during SAD-BJP regime from 2007-2012, said, “No doubt BJP is alliance partner of SAD in Punjab, however as per the survey of our union, so far SAD performed better during their regime and hence we have decided to support them on 9 seats. On tenth seat of Khadoor Sahib, we will be suppporting Bibi Paramjeet Kaur Khalra, because of her family’s sacrifices and not because of the party from which she is contesting.”
Lakhowal added, “We cannot support BJP at any cost because they did not fulfil promises of farmers. They did not implement the Swaminathan Report as promised. They even failed to bring all crops under MSP. They said nothing over crop loan waivers. Hence farmers feel cheated by this party at the national level. At national level we were part of many protests against the NDA government and PM Narendra Modi failed to talk to farmers. Hence our stand is clear, we cannot support BJP on their Hoshiarpur, Amritsar and Gurdaspur seats.”
The union head also said that they would not be supporting Congress as well on the basis of unfulfiled promises. “They started loan waiver, but it was bare minimum and even employment promise was not fulfilled. We had started a campaign on poppy farming and even on this Congress did not meet with us. We had started a signature campaign on this issue and had sent over 25,000 signed declarations to the state government,” he added.
Asked about him having been part of the SAD government in the past, he said, “Yes I remained as Mandi board chairman, but we are an apolitical farmer union. Overall, we find that SAD worked in a better way in the state compared to what Congress is doing now. As BJP at Centre cheated farmers, we cannot support them. This is our stand irrespective of the fact as with which party they have an alliance.”
No other farmer union has so far announced support to any party.