BJP adopts ‘tough stand’ against growing farmers’ clamour in Punjab

 - Sakshi Post

Chandigarh, May 28 (IANS) With clamour growing in Punjab against the BJP nominees in all the 13 Lok Sabha seats in the state over a legal guarantee for minimum support price (MSP), the party seems to have adopted a 'tough stand' on the issue.

Besides a BJP delegation led by its state unit chief Sunil Jakhar approaching the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Punjab to express concerns over the safety of the party candidates during campaigning, BJP nominees like Taranjit Singh Sandhu, the former Indian Ambassador to the US who’s making his electoral debut from Amritsar, seem to have adopted a tough posture.

“Disheartening to see farmers’ groups silent on drug abuse by Punjab’s youth, especially in the rural belt, worsening law and order, and Amritsar’s sewerage issues while raising slogans against the BJP leaders,” Sandhu said on Monday.

The former diplomat faced the farmers’ ire when he visited the houses of two scheduled caste families to express sympathy and hear their concerns.

The farmers assembled there raised slogans against Sandhu, who in turn questioned the protesters if they had ever visited the families that have been impacted by the scourge of drugs.

“It is a shameful act on the part of the farmers,” added Sandhu, whose vision includes alternatives for agricultural development and sustainability.

Punjab has been the epicentre of protests since the beginning of the farmers' agitation in November 2020.

The BJP's campaign in Punjab revolves around the overall development of the border state, jobs for the youth, ending the drug menace, a robust law and order system, and the betterment of farmers.

The Sikhs constitute 58 per cent of the total population in Punjab, out of which Jat Sikhs are 20-25 per cent, the largest landowners.

Addressing a public gathering in Patiala, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said recently, “Punjab is blessed with five rivers. The farmers here have been turning soil into gold. But these INDI Alliance people lie even to the farmers.

“They haven’t fulfilled a single promise made to the farmers. It is the BJP that prioritises the welfare of farmers. In the past 10 years, there has been record procurement of wheat and rice from Punjab. We have increased the MSP by two-and-a-half times in these 10 years.”

Meanwhile, the ruling AAP and the Congress, despite being INDIA bloc partners, are fighting against each other in Punjab.

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the BJP, one of the oldest constituents of the NDA which parted ways over the 2020-21 farm law protests, are contesting the elections solo on all seats.

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), a Sikh hardliner outfit led by Simranjit Mann, have also fielded candidates on their own.

Responding to the ongoing farmers’ protests, a senior BJP leader told IANS that the agricultural states, especially Punjab, need more market-driven outcomes that require investments in infrastructure so that the farmers can expand their options to sell and operate in a level-playing field.

“The MSP system will remain an integral part of the agricultural economy that includes subsidised inputs meant to incentivise farmers to adopt new technologies and enhance farm productivity,” he said.

“Daily protests by the farmers have become a pain in the neck for the common man. We are fed up, it’s impacting our business,” Balraj Thukral, a trader in Barnala, told IANS.

This month, Barnala witnessed a clash between traders and farmers as the business community observed a day-long shutdown to protest against the frequent 'diktats' of farmer unions over 'petty issues'.

Besides Sandhu, other BJP candidates, including sitting MP Preneet Kaur from Patiala, former IAS officer Parampal Kaur from Bathinda, sitting MP Ravneet Singh Bittu from Ludhiana, Hans Raj Hans from Faridkot, and Manjeet Singh Manna from Khadoor Sahib are been facing protests, mainly in the rural areas.

Hans Raj Hans was encircled by the farmers when he was enroute Prime Minister Modi’s rally in Patiala on May 23.

Hans later claimed the farmers told him to speak against PM Modi.

“I said I could die for him, but won’t speak against the Prime Minister. Even if you take my life, I will not speak ill of my friend,” he said.

Stating that the BJP is not anti-farmer, state BJP chief Jakhar told IANS that under the Centre’s Kisan Credit Card scheme, nearly 22.5 lakh farmers in Punjab received a whopping Rs 56,754 crore in the past 10 years.

And under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme, Rs 4,758 crore was provided and 24.50 soil health cards were made in Punjab, he said.

Hitting out at the Bhagwant Mann-led AAP government, he said Punjab is reeling under a collapse in leadership that is responsible for the state’s ignominy with kangaroo courts taking roots here.

To recall, in the 2019 general elections, the BJP’s vote share in Punjab was just 9.63 per cent.

Riding on the Ram Temple wave, the BJP this time aims to notably add to its vote share by banking largely on the urban Hindu vote bank, which constitutes 38.49 per cent of the state’s population with a sizeable influence in 34 Assembly segments.

The 13 Lok Sabha seats in the state will go to the polls in the seventh and final phase on June 1. The results will be out on June 4.

(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at gulatiians@gmail.com)

Disclaimer: This story has not been edited by the Sakshi Post team and is auto-generated from syndicated feed.

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