Farmers’ leaders won’t take a political plunge

| | Chandigarh
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Farmers’ leaders won’t take a political plunge

Friday, 09 July 2021 | Monika Malik | Chandigarh

Agitating farmers from Punjab are not inclined to step into the political turf from the agriculture field. A day after prominent face of the ongoing farmers’ agitation and Bharti Kisan Union (BKU) leader from Haryana Gurnam Singh Chaduni raised a storm of controversy by suggesting ‘Mission Punjab’ asking Punjab farm leaders to take a political plunge, contest upcoming elections, and form a pro-farmer government, the farmer leaders from the state axed the suggestion saying that their “mission” is to force the Central Government to repeal contentious farm laws.

In one voice, they maintained that they neither have any political ambitions, nor any political agenda.

Coming down heavily on Chaduni for even thinking on these lines, the state’s farm leaders distanced themselves from his statement, maintaining that the issue was never discussed during the meetings nor was it ever on the agenda. They, in fact, termed it as “his personal views”.

Notably, Chaduni, in a video message issued on Wednesday, had pointed out that before ‘Mission UP’, farmers should launch a ‘Mission Punjab’ and capture political power so as to present a successful model of governance before the country so that other States can follow suit.

“There is no intention of entering electoral politics by farmer leaders and that the same is never even discussed at the meetings of the core committee nor it was ever on the agenda. It can be his personal views,” said Sanyukt Kisan Morcha leader Dr Darshan Pal, who heads Krantikari Kisan Union Punjab — one of the first organisations to join the protests against farm laws.

“We have no such ambitions and our only agenda is to ensure defeat of BJP in any state wherever elections are due,” he added. Another prominent leader and think-tank of ongoing farmers’ agitation Balbir Singh Rajewal also slammed Chaduni for making an uncalled for statement. “This could be his personal views…I wonder how he can make such a disgusting statement…No decision in this regard has been taken or was ever discussed,” said Rajewal, heading BKU (Rajewal) in Punjab.

“There is no such agenda…As of now, Mission Kisan is going on and there is no scope of Mission Punjab. Our only issues are MSP, and repealing agriculture laws. We cannot fight two fights at the same time, instead we should give our 100 percent to the andolan which we are fighting since past seven months now,” said BKU Kadian president Harmeet Singh Kadian.

Maintaining that this could be Chaduni’s personal views, Kadian said that he was an important and prominent leader and a significant part of SKM body. “His statement could be taken up in the SKM meeting…we should continue fighting on the minimum point programme and should not divert our attention,” he added.

BKU Kadian’s national spokesperson Ravneet Brar also added, “For us these farm bills are priority, we cannot afford to diversify our energy on any other issue. We want to be a pressure group and keep fighting for the rights of the farmers and peasants.”

Notably, Punjab’s biggest farmers’ union, BKU Ekta-Ugrahan — having a massive support base in the agriculture belt across Malwa and almost a blind following in at least 20 districts of Southern Punjab, has already made clear its intentions of not entering the electoral politics in Punjab.

A day before, Chaduni had stated that the farmers have been sitting on dharna at the Delhi borders for seven months and even after defeating the BJP in Bengal, farmers’ issues have not been resolved. Similarly, even after routing the BJP in Uttar Pradesh polls, nothing will happen, he had added.

Going by his 29 years of experience in farmers agitations, he had said, “In Haryana, we agitated against Bhajan Lal and threw him out of power but when Bansi Lal did not relent, we fought with him also. But his successor Chautala took advantage of it when in power, he was responsible for firing on seven farmers. But Hooda took advantage of it. In sum, farmers' issues were never resolved by successive governments since we remained apolitical.”

 “If we defeat BJP in UP, and we will, will our issues get resolved,” he had questioned adding, “I feel we have a negative approach when we say that we want to rout this government or that and I feel we should think constructively and build an exemplary model of governance for the country to follow”.

 “We have 65 percent of electoral strength and show the country how the government should be run. Present candidates cannot do anything because they are slaves of the respective parties which give them tickets and are not committed to issues,” Chaduni had stated on Wednesday.

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