Chandigarh, October 7

Citing the close and old ties of the outfit’s president with the Akalis, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday said the BKU (Lakhowal) group’s U-turn on its petition against the farm laws in the Supreme Court was the result of pressure from the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), which seemed to be once again cozying up with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

BKU (Lakhowal) president Ajmer Singh Lakhowal’s relations with the Akalis were well-known and he had remained the Chairman of the Mandi Board for a decade under Badal regime. The Chief Minister said the sudden decision of the Lakhowal’s organisation to back off from challenging the draconian farm laws in the apex court indicated that he was acting at the behest of SAD. He warned other Kisan Unions to be cautious, and not to play into the hands of the Akalis, who had been instrumental in the enactment of the farm laws in the first place in support of their allies, the BJP.

Pointing to SAD’s justification of the group’s decision to withdraw its writ petition, Captain Amarinder said this clearly indicated a bigger conspiracy, clearly designed by the power-seeking Badals to undermine the fight of the farmers against the black laws. He termed SAD’s statement on the issue, in which a party leader had said the BKU (Lakhowal) group should not have filed the petition without consulting other Kisan Unions, as gross and unwarranted interference in the farmer organisations’ fight.

The only explanation for such interference, said the Chief Minister, was that a deal had been sealed by the Akalis with BKU (Lakhowal) president, who clearly had no qualms about selling off the interests of the farmers to keep his friends in SAD happy.

Captain Amarinder said the entire affair seemed to suggest a collusion, crafted by the BJP at the Centre to weaken the farmers’ battle against the twin agricultural laws with which the Narendra Modi government wanted to destroy the very foundation of the farm sector and ruin the farming community.

“The Union Government had believed that by bringing these laws amid the Covid pandemic, they would be able to avert any opposition as the farmers would be scared to come out on the roads. The BJP was clearly taken by surprise over the vociferous protests of the farmers, who braved lathis and Covid to fight for their survival,” said Captain Amarinder.

On finding their hopes of an easy sell-out of the farm sector to the Ambanis and Adanis, the BJP decided to enact the entire drama of the resignation by the Akalis, who then went on to try and woo the farmers by playing on their sentiments, said the Chief Minister. However, when they found that the farmers were not willing to be taken in by their pretensions and double standards, the Akalis decided to work on dividing the community by playing one group against the other, he added.

The Chief Minister warned the Akalis against playing these dangerous games, which he said would backfire on them as the farmers would not take such actions lying down. If the Akalis, or their political masters in the BJP, believe that they would be able to mislead the farmers with these antics, they were grossly mistaken, he said, adding that the farmers were no fools and would not jeopardise their future, or that of their children, by playing into the hands of these selfish leaders.

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