Members of as many as 31 farmer outfits on Thursday blocked rail traffic by squatting on the tracks in many parts of Punjab as part of their indefinite ‘rail roko’ agitation against the Centre’s agriculture sector legislations.
Groups of farmers also staged dharnas outside the residences of several BJP leaders. Besides, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) took out a ‘kisan march’ in several parts of the State.
Jagmohan Singh, general secretary, Bhartaiya Kisan Union (Dakaunda), said farmer groups have laid siege to 30 different railway tracks in different districts of the State. “Apart from staging protests outside the BJP leaders and boycotting them. We have also started ‘dharnas’ at key toll plazas. We have also started a campaign to boycott products of corporate houses that we believe have a big hand in getting the farm legislations passed by the Central government,” he said.
Akali Dal’s “march’’ started from all three Sikh religious Takhts, including Sri Akal Takht at Amritsar, Sri Damdama Sahib at Talwandi Sabo and Sri Keshgarh Sahib at Sri Anandpur Sahib, and culminated in Mohali district on the Chandigarh border.
Congress leader and Cabinet Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa hit out at the Akali Dal, alleging that the march being taken out by SAD was nothing but an unsuccessful attempt by the so called ‘panthic’ party to revive its political fortunes. But now its mask of duplicity has come off and it stands exposed before not only Punjab but the whole world. “Already the Sikh Panth has discarded the Akali Dal in the aftermath of the sacrilege and firing incidents at Bargari and Behbal Kalan and now the farmers have also come to know about the true colours of SAD. These attempts by SAD for regaining the lost political ground would prove futile,” said Mr. Randhawa.
Aam Aadmi Party MLA and Leader of Opposition Harpal Singh Cheema termed the ‘tractor rallies’ of SAD a mere drama to stay relevant in State politics and its regain its lost political ground by exploiting the religious sentiments of Sikhs.