Lambasting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the malicious and derogatory terms used by its senior leaders against protesting farmers, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday asked the party to stop maligning the farmers and their genuine fight for justice by calling them offensive names like `Urban Naxals’, `Khalistanis’, `Hooligans’ etc.“If the BJP cannot distinguished between anguished citizens fighting for their survival and terrorists/militants/hooligans, it should give up all pretense of being a people’s party,” said the Chief Minister. A party which treats citizens exercising their democratic right of protest as Naxals and terrorists has lost all right to rule over those citizens, he added.Hitting out at BJP general secretary Tarun Chugh over his petty description of farmers in Punjab as `Urban Naxals’, Captain Amarinder said with these remarks, the BJP leadership had hit a new low in its desperation to promote its political agenda. He pointed out that such protests by angry farmers were taking place not just in Punjab but also in BJP-ruled states such as Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. “Do the farmers protesting in all these places look like Naxals to you? And does that mean law and order has collapsed everywhere?,” he asked Chugh.“What is being seen in all these states, as well as the Delhi borders, is the sorry fall-out of the BJP-led central government’s failed policy on Agriculture, and its mishandling of the situation triggered by the farmers protest,” said the Chief Minister. Instead of heeding the plea of the `Annadatas’ and responding to their concerns, the BJP was busy trying to demean them and stifle their voice, he lamented.
Pointing out that various farmer leaders had themselves appealed to agitating farmers not to disconnect power to mobile towers, the Chief Minister said this clearly showed that what was being witnessed on the ground in some places was a spontaneous manifestation of the wrath of farmers who see a dark future ahead as a result of the new farm laws. He pointed out that Kisan Unions had clearly stated that they did not want farmers to indulge in such acts. In fact, the Unions had advised all protestors, and those standing with the farmers, to port their numbers out of the network of the telecom provider whom they had decided to boycott, he added.The Chief Minister noted that the farmer leaders themselves believed, and were stressing, that it was imperative for the success of their movement to ensure that it remains peaceful. “Is that the language of Naxals, as Chugh is alleging?” he asked, dubbing the BJP leader’s remarks as a shameless reflection of his own cheap and vicious mentality.In sharp contrast to the BJP, the Congress believed in upholding the people’s Constitutional right of peaceful protest, which even the Supreme Court had validated in the context of the farmers’ agitation, the Chief Minister said. “But the BJP and its leaders like Chugh seem to be bent on stifling all such protests with their brazen lies and false propaganda,” he added.The Chief Minister also took a dig at Chugh’s plea to the Union home ministry ‘to keep an eye on such developments in Punjab’, saying that it would been better for the state if the BJP leader had sought the Centre’s support in keeping any eye on the fresh spurt of terrorist movement, as well as smuggling of weapons, in Punjab.Reiterating his appeal to the farmers to keep their protests peaceful, as they had done all these months, Captain Amarinder said this was in the interest of Punjab, including its farming community. Disruption of telecom services was hampering the education of children and the work of professionals, and was also disrupting essential services, he pointed out. He urged the farmers not to give in to the provocations of BJP and other opposition parties in Punjab, as their sole agenda was to prevent the farming community from getting their rightful due from the Centre.