Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal on Friday suspended his party’s “Gal Punjab Di” polling campaign for six days and formed a committee to hold talks with farmers to express the Akali’s “fearless support” for their agitation against the three agricultural laws of the Center.
Shiromani Akali Dal’s leader said his party “didn’t want to engage in any confrontation with the peasants”.
“We are from the peasant movement and have supported it to the utmost. We have also supported and will continue to support all the calls of the Samyukt (Kisan) Morcha… We do not want to confront peasants,” Mr Badal said.
A group of farmers on Thursday attempted to break into the site of a SAD event, where Mr Badal was speaking, in the Moga district of Punjab. The police resorted to lathi-charge and used water cannons to disperse the farmers.
Four protesters and three police officers were reportedly injured in the incident. Some vehicles were also damaged, while some protesters reportedly damaged billboards and banners for the SAD rally.
In a statement on Friday, Sukhbir Singh Badal said that the “Gal Punjab DiThe campaign, under which he organizes a 100-day yatra in 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 farmers’ organizations to reiterate the SAD’s “fearless support” for their agitation against the three agricultural laws and to rule out any possibility of misunderstanding between the two sides.
The committee consists of Rajya Sabha MP Balwinder Singh Bhunder, former MP Prem Singh Chandumajra and party leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa.
The SAD chief also warned the people of Punjab of a “deep conspiracy” by “anti-Punjab, anti-peasant and anti-Sikh forces” to worsen the atmosphere of peace and communal harmony and to “bring about brotherly bloodshed” under the Punjabis. .
He claimed that these forces were acting on behalf of central agencies and had the active support of Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
“They (Congress and AAP) have read the letters on the wall and want to sink the menacing mandate of the people of Punjab by creating conditions of unrest and instability.
“All this is being done to create a justification for imposing the rule of the president and to bring back the era of state repression of the 1980s and 1990s in the state,” Mr Badal claimed.