For political mileage, leaders will risk even embarrassment. The humiliation of Bhagwant Mann, Dr Dharamvira Gandhi and Balwinder Singh Bhunder didn’t deter Indian Youth Congress president and Gidderbaha legislator Amrinder Singh Raja Warring on Sunday, as he went up to whitefly-ruined cotton farmers who had warned politicians to stay out of their fight for compensation.
Raising slogans against the Congress, they told him to leave the protest site or they would force him to. Warring had got there with his supporters around 10.30am and sat in front of the dais. As the protest for the day just had begun and most farmer union leaders were yet to arrive, Gurnam Singh of the Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta-Dhakaunda), who was conducting the stage proceedings, thanked Warring for joining the protest but said he must leave, as political interference was not required.
As other leaders, too, came near the stage to drive him away, Warring, sensing trouble, got up to get out but farmer union leaders asked him to keep sitting on the ground for a while as they tell farmers about the Congress role in their crisis. BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan) leader Jhanda Singh Jethuke then started condemning the agricultural policies of the previous Congress government. To avoid more humiliation, the Congress MLA beat a hasty retreat.
The farmer union leaders said that instead of riding piggyback on them, the Congress should organise own protests to press for resolving farmers’ issues. “I was passing by the protest site when I decided to sit with farmers as a gesture of support,” said Warring, adding: “We have been supporting farmers and will continue to do so.”
On Tuesday, the farmers had not allowed Aam Aadmi Party’s Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann to address them. He had to cancel his visit to the protest site.
AAP’s Patiala MP Dr Dharamvira Gandhi faced the farmers’ wrath on Thursday and had a heated exchange with their leaders when he went to join their protest.
On Tuesday, farmers forced Shiromani Akali Dal’s Rajya Sabha MP Balwinder Singh Bhunder to leave Punjab Agricultural University’s kisan mela. Eight farmer unions are on a protest for the past 10 days to seek `40,000 per acre as minimum compensation for damage to cotton crop after the whitefly attack.