“We are totally with the farmers’ movement,” says party chief Badal.
Amid protests by farmers during the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)’s ongoing ‘100-day yatra’, the party has decided to reschedule the tour by six days to facilitate a dialogue with representatives of farmers’ organisations.
In a bid to take on the ruling Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) ahead of the Assembly election in Punjab, SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal last month started the yatra across 100 constituencies in the State. The campaign has been named ‘Gal Punjab Di.’
Mr. Badal said a three-member committee of senior SAD leaders had been set up, which will talk to the farmers’ organisations to reiterate the party’s unflinching support to their movement and to eliminate any possibility of misunderstanding.
“We are totally with the farmers’ movement and have been backing it firmly. We have also backed all calls given by the Samyukt Morcha and will continue to do so. We are ready to answer each and every question posed by any of its representatives at any place of their choosing. We do not want to come into any confrontation with farmers,” said Mr. Badal, adding the campaign will resume from Amloh on September 11.
He added there was deep-rooted conspiracy by anti-Punjab, anti-farmer and anti-Sikh forces to vitiate the atmosphere of peace and communal harmony in the State. He said that these forces were acting at the behest of Central agencies and had the active support of the Congress and the AAP.
Mr. Badal said that the Congress and the AAP were acting out of sheer frustration over the rousing response of Punjabis to the ongoing campaign started by the SAD.
“They have read the writing on the wall and want to scuttle the impending mandate of the people of Punjab by creating conditions of unrest and instability. All this is being done to create a justification for the imposition of the President’s Rule and bring back the era of State repression of the 80s and the 90s,” he said.
He alleged the BJP was at the back of all these conspiracies, as it wanted to manipulate its way to power through a fake mandate.
“We are ready to lay down our lives but don’t want a return of those black days [terrorism] in which brother was let loose on brother and the peace of the State was completely destroyed, taking the State back by decades,” said Mr. Badal.
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