Suspend campaigning in Punjab, farmers leaders tell political parties
Chandigarh, Sep. 10 (IANS): Fearing losing momentum in the agitation against the three contentious Central farm laws, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, a group of 32 farm unions, on Friday asked the political parties in Punjab to suspend their campaigning till the assembly elections, slated in early next year, were announced.
Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Balbir Singh Rajewal told the media here after the day-long deliberations with the political parties, except the BJP, that they had told the political parties not to hold big rallies till elections in the state are announced.
“The rallies not only divert people from the ‘morcha’, but also divides the people along political lines and could threaten the morcha of farmers against the three agriculture laws,” he said.
Rajewal said both the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) were not categorically clear about their stand on the agitation of the farmers.
Earlier in the day, the farmers leaders met Congress leaders led by its state President Navjot Sidhu. They also held separate interactions with SAD and AAP leaders.
The SAD had asked the farmers leaders to retain the national character of the farmer agitation by not imposing any restrictions on political activities in the state even as it offered all help to buttress the ongoing agitation on the borders of Delhi.
Talking to the media after the meeting with the farmers representatives, SAD leaders Prem Singh Chandumajra and Maheshinder Singh Grewal said “a conspiracy is afoot by the Centre to restrict the kisan movement to Punjab and then suppress it by imposing President’s Rule in the state”.
“Our fight is with the BJP at the national level. Political activity has not been restricted due to the kisan andolan in any other state in the country. Going to the people is as much your right as ours and this should not be restricted,” they said.
They also reiterated their unstinted support to the farmers agitation. “We understand that the kisan movement should not be affected at all. We will not hold rallies on any day on which the SKM announces a special programme. We are also ready to support the ‘sangharsh’ by sending our cadre to the Delhi border protest sites. The SKM is also free to set a quota for participation from every political party and we will adhere to it.”