Their ‘Delhi chalo’ nixed by BJP, farmers threaten to block ML Khattar’s entry into Lok Sabha : The Tribune India

Join Whatsapp Channel

Their ‘Delhi chalo’ nixed by BJP, farmers threaten to block ML Khattar’s entry into Lok Sabha

Haryana ex-CM banking on ‘silent’ rural voters

Their ‘Delhi chalo’ nixed by BJP, farmers threaten to block ML Khattar’s entry into Lok Sabha

Haryana’s Sheikhupura villagers discuss elections. Photo: Vicky



Tribune News Service

Geetanjali Gayatri

Karnal, May 21

It’s farmers versus others in the villages of Karnal parliamentary constituency that is witnessing a direct contest between BJP candidate and former Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Divyanshu Budhiraja of the Congress.

In an election where the battle lines are clearly drawn, the farmers, particularly Sikhs, are vociferous in their protests against Khattar and their disdain for the saffron party. On the surface, the Congress appears to be having the edge. But as one digs a bit deeper into the rural belts, the “silent” voter threatens to alter the poll arithmetic. In Sheikhupura, sitting in the shade of the largest tree of the village, a group of farmers is playing cards. Asked if Khattar visited them to seek votes, they sharply retort, allowing Tehal Singh Virk to speak for all: “The BJP and their candidate can’t enter this village. He’s responsible for all the deaths that occurred during the farm agitation. We won’t let him set foot on our soil.” The former CM was bound to be rejected en masse by farmers, they speak in unison.

“Though the government has faltered in ensuring development, creating basic facilities and providing jobs, these issues could have been ignored had the BJP supported us (during the protest),” asserts Sahab Singh. Most of the families here have migrated from Sheikhupura in Pakistan, choosing to keep alive their identity through a namesake village in Karnal.

In Ratak where Khattar was shown black flags during a roadshow, the Sikh farmers are equally staunch in their commitment to go against the BJP. “We didn’t let him stay in our village during the roadshow. He stopped our march to Delhi. We will ensure he doesn’t reach the Lok Sabha. Life comes full circle… We will protest aggressively… he is free to use force to disperse us,” says Gurbachan Singh, summing up the mood of the villages dominated by the Sikh community in the Assandh belt.

Echoing a similar sentiment against the BJP, Paramjit Singh says, “Several farmers, including youths, were killed during the agitation. The BJP leaders have too much blood on their hands. We will oppose the party and its candidates tooth and nail.” However, the mood in the Kashyap chaupal of the village is a bit different. “The farmers barred the BJP candidate’s entry into our village. It was unfair. We wanted to hear him out, but cannot go against the wishes of our farmer brothers,” a villager remarks. The men from other castes in Ratak, as also in Sheikhupura, are critical of the protests. “We might not be able to say anything right now, but our votes will do the talking. It’s wrong to deny any candidate the right to approach his voters,” avers another resident.

As the parties pull out all the stops ahead of the voting day on May 25, both candidates appear confident to pull off a win. “Such protests backfire, as it happened during the Ellenabad byelection…. Some farmers, in a previous election, staged a protest when we reached their village to campaign. When the results came, we had a lead of 35 votes from the village. A handful of protesters don’t convey the majority sentiment,” says Parveen Attrey, BJP spokesperson.

About The Author

The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

#BJP #Congress #Karnal #Lok Sabha #Manohar Lal Khattar


Top News

Om Birla likely to be repeated as Lok Sabha Speaker, Rajnath Singh dials Opposition

Om Birla files nomination as NDA candidate for Lok Sabha Speaker's post

Rajnath Singh tasked to engage opposition says he spoke to C...

A 1st in history: Opposition to contest Lok Sabha Speaker post, K Suresh files nomination

A 1st in history: Opposition to contest Lok Sabha Speaker post, K Suresh files nomination

Venugopal and DMK's TR Baalu meet Rajnath Singh and Amit Sha...

WikiLeaks' Julian Assange to be freed after pleading guilty to US espionage charge

WikiLeaks' Julian Assange to be freed after pleading guilty to US espionage charge

Assange not expected to face new prison time, to return to A...


Cities

View All