Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal on Friday put his party’s poll outreach campaign “Gal Punjab Di” on hold for six days and formed a committee to hold talks with farmers to reiterate the Akalis’ “unflinching support” for their agitation against the Centre’s three farm laws.
The Shiromani Akali Dal chief said his party did “not want to come into any confrontation with the farmers”.
“We are with the farmers’ movement and have been backing it to the hilt. We have also backed all calls given by the Samyukt (Kisan) Morcha and will continue to do so… We do not want to come into any confrontation with farmers,” Mr Badal said.
A group of farmers allegedly tried to force their way inside the venue of a SAD event, where Mr Badal was speaking, in Punjab’s Moga district on Thursday. The police resorted to lathi-charge and used water cannons to disperse the farmers.
Four protesters and three policemen have reportedly been injured in the incident. Some vehicles were also damaged, while some protesters allegedly damaged hoardings and banners put up for the SAD rally.
In a statement on Friday, Sukhbir Singh Badal said the “Gal Punjab Di” campaign, under which he is organising a 100-day yatra across 100 constituencies, will resume on September 11 from the Amloh constituency.
He also announced the formation of a three-member committee of senior party leaders to talk to farmer bodies to reiterate the SAD’s “unflinching support” to their agitation against the three farm laws and to eliminate any possibility of misunderstanding between the two sides.
The committee comprises Rajya Sabha MP Balwinder Singh Bhunder, former MP Prem Singh Chandumajra, and party leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa.
The SAD chief also cautioned the people of Punjab against a “deep-rooted conspiracy” by “anti-Punjab, anti-farmer, and anti-Sikh forces” to vitiate the atmosphere of peace and communal harmony and “engineer fratricidal bloodshed” among Punjabis.
He alleged that these forces were acting at the behest of central agencies and had the active support of the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
“They (Congress and AAP) 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 90s in the state,” Mr Badal claimed.