The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) called upon the farmers of Punjab to stand up to the Badals instead of committing suicides and taking away their own precious life.
“Suicides will not solve your problems and difficulties. You have got the power of the vote in your hands, use it to get rid of the Badals and all those who have been responsible for putting the farming community at the cross-roads,” stated AAP Punjab convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur, while assuring the farmers that his party would take care of their problems once it’s voted to power in the state in the 2017 assembly polls.
Addressing the media here on Thursday, alongside Sanjay Singh, in-charge of the Punjab unit of the party and Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann, Chhotepur disclosed that the party would be preparing a blueprint on all issues plaguing Punjab, including on the agrarian crisis ahead of the assembly polls. “The party will spell out the steps it proposes to take to pull Punjab’s farmers out of the crisis that they are currently facing, including inadequate compensation for crop loss due to natural calamities and pest attacks,” he added.
AAP to ensure farmers get MSP fixed by govt: Mann
Mann added that from October 10 onwards, AAP leaders alongwith volunteers would spread out across the ‘mandis’ (grain markets) of the state to ensure that the farmers get the minimum support price (MSP) fixed by the government for paddy and not a penny less. He made it clear that his party cadres would fight for the rights of the farmers if any attempt was made by the government procurement agencies to purchase the paddy below the MSP.
Mann lambasted the SAD-BJP government for failing to come to the aid of those who had lost their cotton crop due to the whitefly attack. Referring to reports that farmers in the Malwa belt were receiving a mere Rs 10 or Rs 11 as compensation for the crop loss, he said chief minister Parkash Singh Badal was playing a joke on the farming community.
“Badal should have got a case registered against agriculture minister Tota Singh for having allowed the entry of sub-standard pesticides into the state. Instead the agriculture department director was targeted,” he said.
Party of the people: Sanjay Singh
Pointing out that AAP was not a party of leaders but was a party of the people, Sanjay Singh felt that the rebellion by Harinder Singh Khalsa, the party MP from Fatehgarh Sahib and Dharamvir Gandhi, Patiala MP, was not likely to affect the chances of the party in the 2017 assembly polls in Punjab. “In Delhi there was a rebellion against chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, but then it was ultimately the will of the people that prevailed and not of individual leaders,” he added.
He pointed out that the enrollment drive of the party was attracting a large number of people to the AAP fold. “The target in the first phase was to enroll about 20,000 members into the party from each assembly segment, but the numbers are far above expectations,” he added.
“The people of Punjab are angry with the Badal government as well as the Modi government at the Centre and they will give vent to their feelings in the next assembly polls,” he added.
Sanjay Singh said from November onwards AAP cadres would begin a mass contact programme by visiting each and every household in the state, explaining the policies and programmes of the party. “It would be basically a repeat of the experiment conducted ahead of the assembly polls in Delhi, which saw the party get a massive majority,” he added.
When asked about the ‘pardon’ granted to the Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim by the Akal Takht, Mann said it was unfortunate that in Punjab religion was being misused for achieving political goals. “AAP is a secular party and will never use religion for political gains,” he added.