Farmers see plot as parties get into poll mode

Express News Service

CHANDIGARH:  An umbrella body of farmers agitating against the farm sector reform laws since months, on Friday urged all political parties in Punjab to refrain from election campaigning for now if they truly support their struggle.

The call came after 32 farmers unions of Punjab that are part of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), held a meeting at the Singhu border on Delhi’s gates. The meeting was inconclusive as the Punjab government is yet to act on the morcha’s demand to withdraw cases registered against farmers. A final decision on their stand on the forthcoming elections will be taken at a morcha meeting on September 8 after a mahapanchayat at Muzaffarnagar in UP on September 5.

A farmer leader who attended Friday’s meeting, said: “Generally election campaigns start a couple of months before the polls after the Election Commission of India announces the poll dates. But this time, some political parties have already got in election mode, which is unusual. We see it as an anti-farmer conspiracy to distract and divert attention from our struggle. We are asking political parties to desist from their election campaigning, if they truly support the farmers’ struggle.”

On Thursday, farmers had clashed with the Punjab Police in Moga, resulting in injuries on both sides, during an election campaign tour of Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal. BKU (Rajewal) leader Omkar Singh said the meeting warned Badal not use derogatory words against farmers and suspend his rallies. As if on cue, the Shiromani Aklai Dal announced a six-day pause for Badal’s 100-day tour of 100 Assembly constituencies, to facilitate a dialogue with farmer organisations.