Farmer stir casts shadow on BJP’s tie-up with SAD

A senior state BJP leader admitted that the farmers’ stir has added an element of uncertainty to a host of party plans.
Farmers spray warer police used tear gas to disperse them during their 'Delhi Chalo' march, at the Punjab-Haryana Shambhu border in Patiala district, on Feb. 14, 2024.
Farmers spray warer police used tear gas to disperse them during their 'Delhi Chalo' march, at the Punjab-Haryana Shambhu border in Patiala district, on Feb. 14, 2024. Photo | PTI

CHANDIGARH : The Punjab BJP is worried over the fresh round of agitation by farmer unions as the party leaders fear that they might face the same hostilities as during the 13-month-long farm stir against the now repealed laws in 2020-21. The current stir may also cast a shadow on the prospective alliance of the BJP with its former ally the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).

BJP worries stem from the fact that the agitating farmers have barred the entry of its leaders in villages. Besides, SAD has reportedly asked for more time before it could get down to the nitty-gritty of a fresh alliance following the fresh round of the farmer agitation. Farmers are key vote bank of SAD in the state.

A senior state BJP leader admitted that the farmers’ stir has added an element of uncertainty to a host of party plans. If the agitation prolongs, it could impact the party’s prospects in the upcoming parliamentary elections, especially in the rural areas where the party had started to make inroads. “We expect that the SCs and OBCs to support the BJP,’’ he said.

“Although our alliance with SAD is on the cards, the farmers’ agitation has obstructed its early fruition. The Akalis may not take any chances to annoy their rural vote bank, especially the peasantry,’’ said another saffron party leader. Senior SAD leader Prem Singh Chandumajra said the prospects of an alliance depended on the evolving situation.

Talking with this newspaper, political analyst Prof Kuldeep Singh said the farmers believe that there has been no follow-up to the promises made to the farmers at the time of the withdrawal of three farm laws. “So, state BJP leaders and workers are naturally pessimistic about the shape of things in the near future,’’ he added. Sources said the BJP’s state unit was once seen as being dominated by Hindus from urban areas.

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