‘Attempt to sabotage farmers’ struggle’: Badals’ plan of Chakka Jam on day of Punjab Bandh draws flaks

Punjabi women protesting outside the Badals’ residence

CHANDIGARH, Punjab—The Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal)’s program of staging statewide Chakka Jam (blocking road traffic) against the farm bills on the day (September 25) of Punjab Bandh (shutdown) called by all the farmers’ organizations of Punjab is drawing criticization and making others smell conspiracy of torpedoing the struggle of farmers.

Various organizations have supported the Punjab Bandh call given by the farmer bodies, but the SAD (Badal) is an exception and announced its separate program, but on the same day. In view of this, questions are arising on this program.

“Announcement of ‘Chakka Jam’ by the Badals on September 25 is a conspiracy against the peasant struggle”, said Kultar Singh Sandhwan, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA from Kotakpura, while addressing a press conference in Amritsar today.

He alleged that despite the drama of the resignation of Harsimrat Badal, Badal family was still part of the Union Government and acting as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s agent. “The Badals have announced the drama of ‘Chakka Jam’ to torpedo the Punjab Bandh program”, he said.

Sandhwan alleged that the drama was being staged by the Badals in parallel with the peasant struggle at the behest of the Modi government to somehow break the mobilization of the farmers and common people of Punjab. “Badal family is a traitor of Punjabi people. I question why the Badals did not sever ties with the NDA despite Modi’s dictatorial attitude for Draconian anti-farmer laws?” he added.

“Is this hypocrisy necessary only on September 25 and why can’t it go back and forth?” he asked Badals.

Earlier, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh termed the Badals’ decision as yet another brazen attempt by the BJP ally to exploit the sentiments of the farmers, and perhaps even to sabotage the farmers’ fight at the behest of their allies in the Central Government.

“Why don’t you go to Delhi and do a chakka jam outside the homes of BJP leaders and others who have shamelessly sold off the interests of Punjab’s farmers to the big corporate houses for their own petty interests?” the Chief Minister said, daring the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) to quit the Central Government if it really cared for the farmers.

Captain Amarinder lambasted SAD (B) president Sukhbir Badal and his wife Harsimrat for continuing to indulge in their hypocritical pretense of standing with the farmers in the face of the blatant attack on their livelihood by the very Government of which the Badals are a part. “What are these double standards? Why did your Core Committee today not take a decision on quitting the BJP-led NDA coalition?” he asked Sukhbir.

Questioning the SAD announcement of holding chakka jams across Punjab “in league with the farmers, khet mazdoors and arhtiyas’, the Chief Minister said this clearly exposed the Akalis’ malicious intentions, since the farmers’ and other organisations had already declared a Bandh for September 25 several days ago, when the Badals were still busy projecting the unconstitutional and dangerous Agriculture Bills as beneficial for the farming community. There is clearly some malafide intent behind the Akalis’ decision to jump, at this juncture, into the farmers’ pre-planned agitation, he said, adding that the farmers will not be fooled by these antics.

“The games that the SAD, led by the Badals, has been playing with the farmers for the past several months, beginning with the introduction of the vicious Ordinances, have totally exposed their double standards on this issue of critical importance not just to the farmers of Punjab but to the entire state”, said Captain Amarinder.

He added, “The Centre is clearly out to ruin Punjab, and the SAD (B) leaders have been actively supporting this agenda with all their might. Their purported U-turn or rethink on the issue also appears to be a conspiracy to undermine their agitation”.

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