The Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta Sidhupur) on Saturday accused Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann of not fulfilling his promises made to farmers, a day after he slammed farm bodies for frequently blocking roads to press for their demands. Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta Sidhupur) chief Jagjit Singh Dallewal also accused the AAP of acting the same way as the BJP during the farmers’ movement against the now-repealed farm laws.
Dallewal’s organisation is spearheading the farmers’ protests in Amritsar, Mansa, Patiala, Faridkot and Bathinda to press for their demands. The protest entered the fourth day on Saturday.
On Friday, Mann had hit out at the farmers’ bodies over frequently staging protests by blocking roads, saying the common people were facing inconvenience.
Staging sit-ins by blocking roads had become a ”trend” during the past few days, Mann said.
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Dallewal, who on Saturday announced a fast unto death in Faridkot till their demands were met, said the farmers were compelled to stage sit-ins on the roads after their protests outside the offices of deputy commissioners for eight months failed to yield any action.
”When nobody listened to us, we were compelled to come on the roads,” he said.
Speaking to reporters in Faridkot, Dallewal accused Mann of deceiving farmers by not fulfilling their demands, which he had earlier accepted.
”We were promised that sugarcane mills would start crushing from November 5 but they failed to do so. We were promised that Rs 2,500 per acre would be given for not burning stubble. We were also promised no action against farmers who burn stubble, but the government failed on this front as well,” he claimed.
Mann on Friday had also said staging peaceful demonstrations was a democratic right but the government should also be given time to meet the demands.
Dallewal said, ”Our conscience is still alive and we neither allowed previous governments to rob the rights of Punjab nor would we allow you (Mann).” ”We are here for the rights of farmers,” he said.
Replying to the chief minister’s charge that blocking roads had become a ”trend”, Dallewal suggested that Mann should first think how the AAP originated. ”Your party (AAP) also came out of protests and agitations,” Dallewal said in reference to the anti-corruption movement spearheaded by Anna Hazare.
He also asked why AAP leaders joined their year-long protests on the borders of Delhi if they now think that their sit-ins were wrong. He also dared Mann to look into the finances of the farmers’ bodies.
Dallewal was referring to Mann’s statement where he had said, ”Some farmers’ outfits only want to stage a sit-in to make their presence felt and they also have to show that they incurred expenses and for that, they have to collect funds from different sources.” The farmers’ leader alleged that the way the BJP ”adopted tactics” to derail the farmers’ movement against the now-repealed farm laws, the AAP was now acting the same way by trying to instigate people against them.
The farmers’ unions are demanding more compensation for land acquired for national highway projects and damage to crops due to inclement weather and pest attacks, cancellation of cases against farmers and bonus for loss of wheat yield.