Despite ECI directive, no letup in farmers’ opposition to BJP’s campaigning in district : The Tribune India

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Despite ECI directive, no letup in farmers’ opposition to BJP’s campaigning in district

Despite ECI directive, no letup in farmers’ opposition to BJP’s campaigning in district

Former Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani addresses the media. Sarabjit Singh

Tribune News Service

Aparna Banerji

Jalandhar, May 16

Amidst a high pitched pre-election campaign by the BJP in the state where the party is going alone in the Lok Sabha polls for the first time after two-and-a-half decade, the party’s recent complaint to the Election Commission of Indian (ECI) regarding protests is aimed to address the problem of campaign “disruptions” in the rural areas by protesting farmers.

Farmers gather to oppose Sushil Rinku at Jandiala Manjki village. Sarabjit Singh

In Jalandhar constituency too, where the BJP’s Hindu vote is traditionally consolidated in its urban stronghold, the party’s is set to make inroads into the rural segment. Protests by farmers against the party candidate in the rural areas and villages is an impediment to the BJP’s aim.

Following the BJP’s complaint, the ECI instructed farmers not to disrupt poll campaign of candidate. Despite this, there has been no letup in the opposition from farmers to the BJP candidate. Today, farmers gathered at Jandiala Manjki village to oppose Sushil Rinku during his expected visit, but the latter eventually did not turn up.

Compared to Majha and Malwa, farmers’ opposition against the BJP in Jalandhar (Doaba) started with a slight delay. So far, Jalandhar BJP candidate Sushil Rinku has faced protests from farmers at Nurmahal, Kartarpur, Shahkot, Lohian, Mehatpur and Phillaur. In Jalandhar, Rinku has faced protests from farmers’ groups including Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, Pendu Mazdoor Union, Kisan Mazdoor Morcha (KMM), Kirti Kisan Union, BKU (Doaba), BKU (Qadian), BKU (Rajewal) and BKU Ekta Sidhupur among others.

Salwinder Singh Jania, a state leader of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, said, “Isn’t Delhi the capital of farmers too. Farmers were fired at on the borders. Tear gas shells were rained on us. Our youths have been martyred. They should at least tell the reason for such actions against farmers. Our protests won’t stop until we get the answer to these questions. Protests will continue, whenever a saffron party candidate visits villages. We have plans to raise black flags against the BJP in the coming days.”

Kashmir Singh Ghugshore, press secretary, Pendu Mazdoor Union said, “Protests are being held as per the call given by the SKM to oppose the BJP. We have held protests in the past and will continue to do so. The Central Government prevented farmers from entering Delhi. So we won’t let the BJP enter villages. Also, we have yet to get justice in the Lakhimpur Kheri case and our demands have not been fulfilled. The BJP candidate is avoiding rural areas, but he will be opposed whenever he arrives in villages. When a Central BJP leader comes, a protest can be held in the urban areas too.”

Kuwinder Singh Machiana, a leader of the BKU Ekta Sidhupur said, “Our group is clear that we will continue protests during village visits of BJP leaders. We will hold big rallies if need arises.”

Speaking on the issue, BJP leader Manoranjan Kalia said, “We all want that farmers’ demands should be met. We stand by them, but they shouldn’t disrupt the BJP events. The means they adopt for protests aren’t fair. Most of their questions are directed at the Centre. A local candidate isn’t the right person to answer such questions. They should stop their disruptions and let the party campaign. We ourselves will take up their issues when the BJP government is formed.”

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