Farmers in Punjab don’t seem to be in a mood to spare any political party. While BJP leaders have been facing the heat for a while, recently it was the turn of the ruling Congress — and its Anandpur Sahib MP Manish Tewari.
The Parliamentarian was, on Tuesday, visiting SBS Nagar district to dedicate developmental projects when he was greeted with a protest by members of the Doaba Kisan Union in Bharta Kalan village.
Mr Tewari, after being escorted to safety by the police, cancelled his visit to another village, Bazidpur, where some farmers had gathered for a similar show of anger.
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Kuldip Singh, a leader of the union in Bazidpur, said opposition leaders had let down the farmers in Parliament by not raising their voice when the controversial farm bills were tabled.
“Mr Tewari is a Congress MP. Neither did he nor the rest of the 12 Lok Sabha MPs from AAP and SAD present our case properly. When farmers are protesting near Delhi border, these leaders didn’t visit citing excuses like farmer union leaders had barred political leaders from sharing the stage,” Mr Singh said.
“Why can’t they go and sit with the protesters rather than roaming in villages with heavy security, violating their own poll promise of doing away with VIP culture?” he asked.
Later the protesters damaged the foundation stone Mr Tewari was to lay for a village project in Bazidpur, prompting the police to file a case for damaging public property.
Mr Tewari, meanwhile, said the Punjab government had stood by the farmers on the issue from the very beginning and would continue to do so.
“These bills would be repealed immediately when the Congress government comes to power. When the Central government brought the ordinance in this regard, I was the first to oppose it as the spokesperson of the Congress party and it was opposed in Parliament,” said Mr Tewari.
He appealed to the farmer leaders to distinguish between their supporters and opponents so that their movement could succeed.
On Sunday, Congress MLA Hardyal Singh Kamboj faced a similar protest in Patiala’s Budhanpur village where he had gone to provide grant for some development work. He was escorted out by the police amid calls of “go back”.
The nationwide protest, which began last year against three controversial Central farm laws, completed 200 day yesterday. Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana, and western Uttar Pradesh, seek the repeal of these laws.