Congress cashes in on ‘anti-farmer BJP’ sentiment in Punjab : The Tribune India

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Congress cashes in on ‘anti-farmer BJP’ sentiment in Punjab

Gandhi siblings remind electorate of saffron party’s ‘terrorist’ tag for Delhi protesters, 750 agitation deaths

Congress cashes in on ‘anti-farmer BJP’ sentiment in Punjab

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi greets supporters at an election rally at Grain Market, Khanna. File photo



Tribune News Service

Rajmeet Singh

Chandigarh, May 27

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first leg of Punjab tour, in which he tried to woo the Sikh community amid constant protests from farmers, top guns of the Congress, led by former party chief Rahul Gandhi and senior leader Priyanka Gandhi, in their first leg of the state’s tour, tried to cash in on the anti-BJP sentiments among farmers.

With the chorus against the saffron party by farm unions getting louder, the Congress seems to have hit a perfect strategy to woo the farming community, which forms a substantial part of the electorate.

No unanimous support to any one party

The farmers’ grievances are against the BJP at Centre and against the AAP government in the state. By proxy, the Congress and Akalis could benefit to some extent. However, there does not seem to be an active support of the farming community towards any one particular party. —Pramod Kumar, Director, Institute of development and communication

In the Punjab tour of the Gandhis spread over two days, Rahul reminded the farming community that the PM had allegedly termed farmers as “terrorists” when they were protesting at the Delhi borders in 2020-21, forcing the BJP-led NDA government to repeal the three farm laws. Going further, he reminded farmers that Modi had waived off loans worth Rs 60 lakh crore of 22 billionaires, but could not afford to do the same for debt-ridden farmers of the country.

Party strategists point out building anti-BJP sentiments among the farming community in the run up to the June 1 polling and projecting itself as the “asli rakha” (true saviour) of farmers as part of a well-laid strategy. Even the issue of scrapping the Agnipath scheme and strongly believing in the spirit of “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan” slogan is also being played up by the Congress.

The strategists point out that while farmers constitute nearly 22 per cent of the vote share in Punjab, those from rural areas and those directly or indirectly connected with farmers can be considered a part of the gamut of farmer protests.

On her tour of Fatehgarh Sahib and Patiala, Priyanka Gandhi did not miss to mention that 750 farmers had died during the Delhi protest and now at Shambu (Haryana) border, the BJP was indifferent to these developments.

Repeatedly flagging its farmers’ manifesto on legal guarantee for MSP and restricting the insurance scheme, the Congress leaders do not miss to cash in on the support the Punjab Congress had provided to build the agitation when farmers landed at Delhi borders in late 2020.

The Capt Amarinder Singh-led Congress government had backed farmers when they reached Delhi borders in 2020. In January 2022, Charanjit Singh Channi as CM had sided with farmers after they had protested during the PM’s visit to Ferozepur.

In their statements, Congress leaders are desisting from giving Capt Amarinder Singh credit for the farm agitation 1.0. Interestingly, while BJP candidates and leaders are facing stiff protests from farmers, the Congress leaders are facing no such situation in villages.

Dr Pramod Kumar, director, Institute of Development and Communication, pointed out: “Right now, the farmers’ issue has not been addressed. Their grievance is against the BJP at the Centre and on some issues against the AAP government in the state. By proxy, the Congress and Akalis could benefit to some extent. But there does not seem to be an active support of the farming community for one particular party.”

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 #Narendra Modi #Priyanka Gandhi Vadra #Rahul Gandhi #Sikhs


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