Punjab farmers call all-party meet on polls

Express News Service

CHANDIGARH: In Punjab, angry farmers are in no mood to let political parties do campaigning for election in villages across the state, saying campaigning now, months before elections, only serves to divert public attention away from farmers’ protests. The farmers’ unions have on Wednesday decided to meet representatives of all the political parties, excluding the BJP, on Friday (September 10) to listen to their viewpoint on farmer’s issues.

Confirming the meeting, Harinder Singh Lakhowal, the General Secretary of BKU(Lakhowal), Punjab told TNIE, “the farmers unions have called a meeting of representatives of all political parties fighting the Punjab elections. But representatives from the BJP are not invited for Friday’s meeting to be held in Chandigarh. We will talk to them and ask for their views, and then, accordingly decide. As of now, it is too early to do poll campaigning, it will dent the farmers’ movement against the Centre’s three farm laws. 

ALSO READ | Punjab parties reach out to farmers to stop entry ban in villages

This decision was taken as the Shiromani Akali Dal wrote a letter to all unions asking them for a date and time to meet to explain their side of the story. “Also, it was decided in the meeting that from September 12 onwards,  more farmers will be sent to both Singhu and Tikri borders,’’ he said.

Sources said that the farmers are in no mood to allow the political parties to camping for the upcoming polls in the rural areas till the Election Commission officially declares the code of conduct in the state. “Why political parties are campaigning so many months in advance? Earlier,  they used to start campaigning just before the polls. Why is there a sudden change? Are they afraid,” said a farmer leader.

The farmer’ unions said they have told all political parties, especially the BJP, that they are not welcome to villages till the Centre repeals the three farm laws and brings in a law guaranteeing Minimum Support Price (MSP) for every crop. In more than 200 villages across the state, most of them in the Malwa region, the local units of Sanyukt Kisan Morcha have banned the entry of politicians.