Farmers protest outside venue of BJP meeting in Ludhiana


DW BUREAU / Ludhiana A group of farmers held a protest outside the venue where a BJP meeting was taking place here, with police saying their timely intervention prevented the situation from turning ugly. Police said a meeting of the women wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party was being held and when the farmers protested. The meeting was attended by Sukhpreet Kaur, national general secretary of the BJP Mahila Morcha, and Punjab BJP chief Ashwani Sharm. Carrying BKU flags, the farmers raised slogans against the Centre over its contentious farm laws. Police said trouble started after the meeting when the BJP leaders started coming out of the hotel. As farmers were raising slogans, some BJP supporters also gathered and both sides tried to come close to each other. Police personnel at the spot led by Joint Police Commissioner Deepak Parikh didn't allow them to come near to each other. Agitating farmers were saying that they were protesting as per the decision of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha to hold peaceful protest against the BJP leaders' functions. On the other hand, a senior BJP leader, Anil Sareen, said ,"The protestors are not farmers. They have some political agenda and are not bothered about interests of farmers." Heated argument was also witnessed between the farmers and some BJP supporters. Protesting farmers are seriously considering voting against the ruling Uttar Pradesh government in next year's assembly polls to teach the BJP-led Centre a lesson, the Rashtriya Kisan Manch said on Tuesday. "Farmers will settle scores with the anti-farmer BJP party in the forthcoming assembly elections in UP," said Shekhar Dixit, National President, Rashtriya Kisan Manch, while talking to reporters here. He said future course of action will be decided on Wednesday by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha at the ongoing 'Kisan Sansad'. On the basis of the next strategy, the agitation would be intensified, Dixit said. He questioned the propriety of the Centre to impose a farm law on farmers, which in fact is "anti-farmer and pro-capitalist." The government should make public data, if any, of its pro-farmer development that it touts in parallel with the corridors/expressways of the country. Terming the PM Fasal Bima Yojana (crop insurance scheme) as a "photocopy of the farm laws", he said it has miserably failed since the scheme is being run to save the interests of industrialists. The claim made by the government that it is working towards doubling the income of farmers by 2022 is nothing but a "gimmick" meant to misguide them, Dixit said. The opposition continued their protests in Parliament over the Pegasus snooping controversy and the contentious farm laws. Amid the din, the Essential Defence Services Bill, 2021 was passed. The proceedings were then adjourned till 4 PM. In the morning when the House assembled at 11 am, the opposition members came to the well and started sloganeering over the alleged snooping through the Pegasus software and demanding scrapping of the three farm laws enacted last year. When questions relating to agriculture and farmers' welfare came for discussion during the Question Hour, Birla asked the protesting members to raise farmers-related queries in the House. "I wanted you to question the minister with regard to farmers welfare, but you are engaging in sloganeering which is not acceptable... You don't want to discuss farm issues...," Birla said. However, members from opposition parties continued their sloganeering. Speaker Birla after allowing the Question Hour to continue for about 40 minutes amidst the protests, adjourned the House for 20 minutes till 12 noon. When the House re-assembled at noon, the opposition protests continued. Senior MP Bhartruhari Mahtab, who was in the chair, first allowed the papers related to various ministries to be laid in the House. He also announced that the adjournment motion moved by a few members were rejected by the Speaker. As the protests continued, Mahtab appealed to the opposition members to go to their seats so that the House can function normally. As the opposition ignored his plea, Mahtab adjourned the House till 2 pm after 10 minutes of business. The House proceedings have been marred since the beginning of the Monsoon session on July 19 as opposition members protest demanding discussion on the Pegasus snooping issue. (


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