A month after his expulsion from the Congress, Jagmeet Brar on Saturday addressed a public rally as his show of strength, keeping his options open to join a party that would take the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Congress head on in the run-up to the assembly elections.
The cautious Brar opted not to name any political party, either as an enemy or a friend of the state, though he launched a direct attack on the ruling Badals and Punjab Congress chief Capt Amarinder Singh terming them “traitors of Punjab”.
“The Badals mean SAD and Amarinder means Congress in Punjab,” he later told HT, on being asked why he did not name the two parties while condemning the rival leaders. “Punjab lacks political and intellectual leadership,” he said in his speech.
He addressed a face-saving crowd of 8,000-10,000, who thronged from Muktsar, Mansa, Bathinda, Faridkot, Ferozepur, Moga, Ludhiana and a few from Jalandhar, Nawanshahr, Gurdaspur and Tarn Taran districts.
NEXT COURSE OF ACTION
Brar set August 15 as a deadline for the Narendra Modi government at the Centre to bring the state out of the severe agrarian crisis wherein, he added, the farmers were committing suicides. “If the Centre does not take any step like forming a committee to study the suicides in Punjab by August 15 and announce a concrete remedy, I will lead an agitation of the Punjab’s poor peasantry,” he said.
“These poor farmers would include not only the Jat Sikhs but also all those Dalits and other backward classes who have become the victim of the state’s severe agrarian crisis,” Brar said.
He said neither the Amarinder’s regime nor the Akali-BJP government had given any concrete policies focusing on agriculture, health, education and any model to handle the state’s fiscal health.
BRAR’S ‘MAHA KUMBH’
For Brar, the rally was the “Maha Kumbh of Punjab”. He made a dramatic entry into the ‘pandal’, climbing the stage and then getting off the stage for a few minute, bowing down on his knees in front of the crowd.
He pointed out the historical significance of Chappar Chiri, while terming the event “historic”, saying Punjab was now at a juncture where the people needed someone like Banda Singh Bahadur to lead.
The public faces by his side on the stage were his brother and ex-MLA Ripjit Brar, old-time Congress colleague former MLA Harbans Lal, his old pal Manjit Singh Jhalbutti from Mansa, who unsuccessfully contested the last assembly polls as an Independent, ex-MLA Vijay Sathi from Moga, Amandeep Singh Mangat from Chamkaur Sahib, ex-MLA Tarsem Jodha, who was earlier in the AAP and then in Yogendra Yadav’s ‘Swaraj Abhiyan’.
Harbans had roped in Viresh Shandaliya, the self proclaimed national president of the Anti-Terrorist Front India from Ambala, who enjoys police security both from Punjab and Haryana.
They all read an almost similar resolution to fight against the present Akali-BJP government on agrarian crisis leading to farmer suicides, drug addiction, deteriorating law and order and corruption.
He said if the Badals were a single clan ruling the state, Amarinder was still living in the era of kingship. “But the people of the state are fed up of both these clans — ‘parivarvaad’ (nepotism) and ‘rajwarashahi’ (kingship), and they need someone like Banda Bahadur to lead them,” Brar said.
Brar even stated that the ancestors of both CM Badal and Amarinder sided with the British regime whether it was the Jaito Morcha or the revolt of 1857.
HOPES FROM AAP
Brar told HT that he still had hopes from the AAP that could “do some good for the people of Punjab”. “AAP had done too much for Punjab in the recent past,” he said.
When asked why he did not name the party even once in his entire speech, Brar said he was here to address the issues concerning the state and not for being into any political game.
Whether any chance in the near future to join the AAP? “Let us see if there comes any bridge at any juncture to do so,” he replied. He said there were still many in the Congress who felt suffocated but were not coming out in the open.
Brar said he did not feel alone as the people of Punjab were all out to greet him wherever he reached for his mass contact programme. He had so far covered 60 villages in his drive of getting signatures of the families of farmers who committed suicides, and 59 more such villages were to be covered, he added.