Chandigarh: The chief of a farmer outfit, which had blocked the route of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s convoy in Ferozepur forcing it to return, on Thursday said his group was told by the district police chief that the PM would be travelling by this road, but “we thought it was a bluff to get the road vacated”.
It was revealed by Bharatiya Kisan Union (Krantikari) chief Surjeet Singh Phul, whose union had blocked the Ferozepur-Moga road near Piareana village as part of their protest.
The PM’s convoy had got stuck on a flyover on this road for 15-20 minutes when it reached near Piareana village, around 30 km away from the National Martyrs Memorial in Hussainiwala in Ferozepur.
A decision was then taken to take the PM’s convoy back to Bathinda airport.
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After landing in Bathinda on Wednesday, Prime Minister Modi had to take the road route to Hussainiwala in Ferozepur because of the inclement weather.
Talking to reporters, Phul said, “We initially thought they were bluffing us. The PM will not come. (If he comes) he will come by air as a helipad was set up there.” Phul said they thought it was a ploy of the police to get the road vacated to allow buses of BJP workers to pass through for the rally. “We thought that way,” he said.
“We never knew that the PM was coming,” said Phul.
Asked which police officer told them that the PM was coming, Phul said it was the Senior Superintendent of Police (Ferozepur).
The SSP said the prime minister was coming, said Phul.
“We told him if the PM had to come, will it be known just an hour before his arrival? It was not possible,” Phul said.
He further argued that there was so much traffic on the road and if the PM had to take this road, the traffic on both its up and down lanes would have been stopped in advance.
“You (SSP) are bluffing us. We do not trust you and we will not vacate the road. You are lying about the PM visit,” said Phul.
Some farmer bodies, including the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee and Bharatiya Kisan Union (Krantikari) had earlier announced to oppose Modi’s visit.
They were demanding from the government to fulfil their pending demands, including bringing a law to guarantee the minimum support price for crops and withdrawal of criminal cases against farmers, who had participated in the agitation against the central farm laws.
In a ”major security lapse”, Prime Minister Modi’s convoy was left stranded on a flyover in Ferozepur on Wednesday after some protesting farmers blocked the road forcing the PM to return from poll-bound Punjab without attending any event, including a rally.
The Union Home Ministry has sought an immediate explanation from the state government on the PM’s security breach, saying it did not ensure the requisite deployment with Home Minister Amit Shah too warning that such dereliction of the security procedure during the prime minister’s visit is totally unacceptable and the accountability will be fixed.