Punjab | BJP faces farm stir heat as no entry posters for party surface in villages

Posters like this have surfaced in different villages of Bathinda and Sangrur districts in Malwa region. 

Punjab | BJP faces farm stir heat as 'no entry' posters for party surface in villages

If you don’t let farmers enter Delhi, they will not let your leaders enter Punjab villages, read the posters that have come up in Malwa region

Even as the BJP is going solo in the Lok Sabha elections in Punjab this time, it would be an uphill task for the party to garner support in the rural areas of the state as voices of dissent have started emanating against it from the farming community in view of the party’s stand on farm issues.

Posters barring the entry of BJP leaders and cautioning them against seeking votes have surfaced in some parts of Sangrur and Bathinda districts in the politically crucial Malwa region. The posters were first spotted at Namol village in Sangrur. They were reportedly put up by BKU Azad and they featured the photographs of Shubhkaran Singh, a Punjabi youth, who lost his life in an alleged clash with Haryana’s security forces amid the farmers’ protest at Khanauri border. The posters also underlined the plight of Pritpal Singh, a Sangrur farmer who was allegedly assaulted by Haryana police and is still undergoing treatment.

Pending demands

Local BKU Ekta (Azad) leaders said they would not allow the entry of any BJP leader into the village until the Centre accepts the demands of the farmers. They lamented that the Centre had not even implemented the demands to which it agreed when the farm stir came to an end at Delhi borders. Among these demands are the legal guarantee for the minimum support price (MSP) on crops and compensation to the families of the farmers who died during the farm stir, they said, adding that they were determined to hold BJP accountable during the campaign trail.

Similar posters have also been spotted in Bhucho Khurd village of Bathinda district. The posters put by the BKU (Dakaunda-Dhaner) read: “Kisan da Dilli jaana band hai, BJP da pind vich aana band hai” (If you don’t let farmers enter Delhi, they will not let your leaders enter Punjab villages).

Talking to the media, BKU leader Ranjit Singh Sandhu said they’ve decided to oppose the BJP on the call of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) over non-implementation of demands of farmers.

“The BJP government, instead of accepting our demands, has forcefully stopped the farmers from heading towards Delhi. Now, the farm outfits have decided to oppose the BJP leaders coming to villages. We have started this campaign from Bhucho Khurd village,” he said.

Spreading discontent

The resentment against the BJP also came to the fore at Bharu village in Gidderbaha assembly segment, where posters denouncing BJP have been pasted on the walls for the past four days.

Earlier, tension gripped Bathinda on March 24 when a BJP event was marred by farmers’ protest, leading to the cancellation of a scheduled address by BJP state unit president Sunil Jakhar. However, Jakhar’s office denied any plan to address the gathering in Bathinda.

Though the elections are scheduled to take place in Punjab on June 1, farmer unions anticipate the emergence of more dissenting voices in villages as the election campaign gains momentum. With the threat of more farmer protests looming, the BJP faces a daunting task of making inroads in the rural areas of Punjab, particularly in the aftermath of snapping ties with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) which has a voter base among the farming community.

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