As the farmers’ agitation against farm laws continue at Delhi borders, there is a growing disquiet withing the ranks of the BJP in Punjab. Former BJP national vice president and veteran party leader Laxmi Kanta Chawla said that the agitation shouldn’t have been allowed to go for so long and the Prime Minster could have solved the issue in a day if he wanted.
The party leaders are expressing apprehension that the protests could turn violent, even as the civic polls is scheduled next month.
“Speaking as a citizen of India and not as a BJP leader, I feel no protest should run so long. A solution to it should have been found at the earliest. In mid-December, after the number of farmers dying due to cold or suicide had reached 30, I even wrote to PM Narendra Modi that if the Agriculture Minister is not able to solve the issue, the PM should take the matter in his own hands,” Chawla reportedly said, according to the Indian Express.
The former minister said that the farmers had set an example for the world by ensuring peace despite the protest going on for so long.
“Kisan is not 100 per cent wrong and neither are the farm laws. The Prime Minister himself should sit with the farmers to find a solution. I feel that if the PM wants, a solution can be found in a day,” chawla added.
Other party leaders are also unhappy with the state unit for failing to present the true picture of the protest to the Delhi leadership. A Malwa-based leader on the condition of anonymity reportedly said, “First the farm ordinances were passed in Parliament despite protests. Later, the party did not wake up to the fact that the Akali Dal broke its 27-year-old alliance with us due to the anger among the farmers.”
He added that inspite of the protests intensifying in October, the first meeting with the Union ministers was arranged only on November 13.
The BJP leader added that even though there were many rounds of meetings in Delhi with the central government, only one meeting were held with farmers protesting in Punjab since June 6.
Former BJP state secretary Manjinder Singh Kang, who resigned from the party in October says that the state BJP didn’t take the protest seriously.
“I kept saying the leadership was not giving the right feedback to the high command. At times I even had heated arguments with them. Finally, when on October 13, at a meeting with farmers in Delhi, the Union ministers did not turn up but sent the Secretary, Agriculture, I decided to resign,” Kang said.
To add to BJP’s discomfort, the municipal council polls, scheduled for February 15, which is not even a month away.
Source said not many BJP leaders are keen to contest given the anger. In Bathinda, a local party member threatened to quit if forced to contest.