West Bengal

Teach BJP a lesson, farm unions tell voters in Bengal

Indian social activist Medha Patkar, center, joins supporters of Samyukt Kisan Morcha a farmer's platform during a rally demanding roll back of new agriculture laws in Kolkata, India, Friday, March 12, 2021.   | Photo Credit: AP

Farm union leaders under the banner of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha kicked off campaigning in West Bengal election on Friday, with a mahapanchayat in Kolkata. They appealed to the State’s farmers to “teach a lesson” to the BJP by voting against it.

“We are not asking you to support any particular party. We are only appealing to the people of Bengal to vote against the BJP because it is against farmers’ interests. Vote for any other party,” said veteran Punjab farm leader Balbir Singh Rajewal, speaking at a press conference in Kolkata before the mahapanchayat.

He alleged that the BJP-led Central government’s policy would only benefit corporates, not farmers, and accused the BJP of aiding the likes of Adani, who already dominate many other sectors, to take over the farm sector also.

“We have been on Delhi’s borders for 105 days and protested against the three [farm reform] laws in Punjab before that. Now we are coming to you,” said the veteran Punjab leader, accusing the Centre of “telling lies” regarding the laws and the protests.

After the press conference, the union leaders undertook a vehicle rally from Gandhi Statue to the Ram Lila Park, where the mahapanchayat was held. Further gatherings will be held over the weekend in Mayo Road, Nandigram, Singur and Asansol.

“Farmers are challenging the powers-that-be in the only way that they understand,” said Swaraj India president Yogendra Yadav. “We are not here to directly intervene in the elections. We don’t have any candidate, we have not formed any political party, we are not supporting any party. We are only saying, please teach the BJP a lesson,” he added.

The SKM issued an open letter to farmers in all four poll bound States as well as the union territory of Puducherry.

“For the past three and a half months, protesting farmers around Delhi did not go back home from the protest sites. When the protesting farmers at Delhi's borders will meet their families is very much in your hands. Only a farmer will understand the pain and anguish of another farmer,” said the letter.

“This is the time when farmers in Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal can teach a good lesson to power-hungry, anti-farmer BJP. BJP should learn a lesson that it is not wise to pit itself against farmers of India. If you manage to teach them this lesson, the arrogance of the party can be broken, and we can get the demands of the ongoing farmers' movement fulfilled,” it added.

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Printable version | Jul 30, 2021 5:22:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/west-bengal-assembly/teach-bjp-a-lesson-farm-unions-tell-voters-in-bengal/article34056035.ece

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