On backfoot in Punjab, farm law repeal gives BJP a breathing space ahead of assembly polls

Political observers say that it is too early to declare whether BJP will find acceptance among the voters of the state for 2022 assembly polls.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement of repealing the three farm laws which triggered agitations in Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh for the past over a year is likely to give some respite to the beleaguered saffron party in Punjab whose leaders have faced vociferous protests in towns and villages.

Political observers, however, say that it is too early to declare whether BJP will find acceptance among the voters of the state for 2022 assembly polls given the fact that hundreds of farmers have lost their lives in the agitation and the farmers were branded as anti-nationals and goonda elements.

While former Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has been quick to claim some credit for the development by tweeting that he had been working for the resolution of the imbroglio for the past one year and met the Prime Minister and Home Minister, the lack of support that he has got from his own close MLAs in Congress over his move to form a new political party has not helped his image.

Ever since the farmers’ agitation picked up speed in Punjab and elsewhere, BJP leaders and workers have faced protests whenever and wherever they have attempted to hold public meetings. The entry of BJP leaders was banned in villages, their meetings were broken up by force and the Abohar MLA Arun Narang was even thrashed in full public view and his clothes torn.

“There is not going to be any support for the BJP in the state because people are not going to forget the deaths of 700 farmers due to these black laws. The people are aware that the PM has had to take back these laws due to political compulsions of approaching elections in UP where BJP is faring very badly as per surveys conducted. As far as Captain Amarinder is concerned he can claim anything he wants but the BJP would be foolish to tie up with someone who has been thrown out of Chief Ministers chair for non performance by his own party,” said Harpal Singh Cheema, Leader of Opposition.

For their part, the BJP leadership in Punjab went silent immediately after the PMs announcement and till the time this report was filed no official reaction had come from the state leadership. Only national general secretary Tarun Chugh reacted after the announcement by the PM saying that he welcomed the development and that the PM has shown a big heart.

“The PM has always had respect and concern for the Sikhs and Punjabis and that is why he has ensured justice in the 1984 riots and attempted to double the income of the farmers. It is good that he has made this announcement on Gurpurab and it should be welcomed by all,” said Chugh.

Political commentator Professor Chaman Lal said, “This is the greatest political news of India after lifting of the Emergency 44 years ago by Indira Gandhi. Congratulations to the great farmers struggle to save India from another fascist in the making. This is a victory of not only farmers but of all Indian people,” he said.

“I do not see any big gains for the BJP in Punjab in the 2022 polls apart from the fact that there will be toning down of the anger against them in the streets. The farmers have achieved this win through their sacrifices and they have not been given this as a gift. The tone and tenor of the PM in his speech made it clear. He has apologised for taking back the laws and not to the farmers for introducing them in the first place,” said Chaman Lal.

When asked about the prospects of Capt Amarinder Singh by tying up with BJP for the 2022 polls, he said that this will again not help BJP because the Hindu businessman who is associated with farmers will never vote for Amarinder. “The die hard BJP voter is of course going to vote for the party but that is not enough to cause damage to other parties or to win a seat. Amarinder will only damage his image further in Punjab if he goes for a tie up with BJP. But let’s not forget that Modi has played his gambit for UP polls and not Punjab,” said Chaman Lal.

Source: Read Full Article