No protesters at industrialists’ dharna in steel town?

  • Gurpreet Singh Chhina, Hindustan Times, Mandi Gobindgarh
  • Updated: Oct 26, 2014 21:34 IST

The dharna and hunger strike by the steel town's industrialists, which had taken a political turn, had no protesters at the venue on Sunday. Just two labourers were guarding the tent.It was 40th day of the ongoing protest by the industrialists.

Hitesh Ghawri, one of the industrialists, alleged that the dharna was started to press the government to accept their genuine demands. However, it was being 'used' to promote certain people keeping an eye on the next municipal elections, he alleged.

On the other hand, Small Scale Steel Re-rollers Association spokesperson Jatin Sood justified the scene on Sunday and said they were preparing for the meeting with officials scheduled for Monday.
Steel Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Bharat Bhushan Toni also echoed the statement.
Bhav Nagar Traders Association (BNTA) president Manmohan Singh said that there were no protesters as it was a Sunday.

In the protest's first phase, the industrialists had invited leaders of the different political parties. Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president Partap Singh Bajwa had decided to gherao the chief minister's (CM) residence on September 29 to press the government. However, the party dropped the plan when deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal promised to solve industrialists' woes.

After that, the industrialists resumed work, but took turns in continuing with the protest.
Interestingly, BJP's Tikhan Sood, a former minister, and party's state secretary Subhash Sharma supported the protesters. They also extended support to the industrialists with the promise of getting their alliance partners to concede to the demands.

The deputy CM, in his meeting with the industrialists which was arranged by BJP leaders, directed Excise and Taxation department officials to amend the policy to facilitate the industrialists.
However, in spite of a series of meetings, a favourable result for the industrialists is yet to emerge.

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