Monday, December 05, 2022

India

The double betrayal of Punjab by Capt. Amarinder Singh, Sirsa

February 16, 2022 05:36 PM
PM Modi presented Kirpan by Capt. Amarinder Singh, Chairman Punjab Lok Congress (PLC) Punjab at election rally in Jalandhar
Chanchal Manohar Singh

 Punjab farmers and farm mazdoors unitedly created world history by organising a 380-day long peaceful and successful stir on the Delhi border demanding repeal of three contentious Farm Acts. There is no other example of such a peaceful and long protest by farmers anywhere in the world.  This success became possible as no leader of the 33-farm unions of different shades and ideology involved in the protests betrayed the other.

Seven-hundred-thirty-eight farmers lost their lives during the protests, facing vagaries of icy cold winters, sizzling summers, storms and rain that played havoc with their lives. The number of deaths is on the high side in any protests by any union or organisation in free India.  

Capt. Amarinder Singh whose members of their family, including himself, are still facing accusations of corruption and FIRs have been registered against all of them by the Enforcement Directorates (ED). Therefore, Capt. Amarinder Singh had hardly any choice left, but to follow the dictates of BJP or face cases or even arrests. He chose the best possible path offered to him to play a puppet of the BJP in the Punjab elections. Betraying the farmers and people of Punjab including his mother party Indian National Congress (INC), Amarinder formed his new political outfit. Now, his outfit in alliance with BJP is contesting elections against the farmer leaders.

Protesters were brutally beaten when they entered Haryana to reach Delhi to lodge their protests against the Farm Laws. In the coldest of weather, the protesters faced water cannons, tear gas shells and were brutally lathi-charged by Haryana police under instructions from BJP Chief Minister M. L. Khattar injuring hundreds of the protesters, many with bones fractured.

Over 400 farmers have died from Punjab only, the largest number during the protests. The villages to which farmers belonged mourned their deaths and passed through the personal agony of pain that deaths bring to families.

Compulsions of elections in five states, especially in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, compelled Prime Minister Narendra Damodaran Das to bow before the strong farmers, and in the shortest period in the history of the Indian parliament passed the act to withdraw the three Farms Acts. The arrogant PM who hardly budged an inch from his stated or announced position/order had to eat a humble pie. Modi very shrewdly selected Guru Nanak Dev’s birth anniversary, the first of the Sikh Gurus, making his decision public by announcing at a Gurdwara to withdraw the contentious acts. But Modi never condoled or repented the deaths of 738 farmers.

He was very much aware that Langars (or community meal services) which was organised for such a long period by devote Sikhs were in fact  part of Guru Nanak’s ethical message to humanity: Nam japo, Kirat Karo and vand chhako (Worship God, labour and share with the needy).

I especially made myself present at Singhu border the day 33-farmers organisations were to announce the withdrawal of their agitation. The leaders announced that the Modi-Shah government had tried its best to break their unity, but failed and faced humiliation.

Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa chairman SAD (Sanjukta) with PM Narender Modi

Only two politicians betrayed the farmers ----  Punjab Ex-chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh and second Sirsa, President Delhi Gurdwara Management Committee (DGMC). Both turned to the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) looking for a safe haven from charges against them. Capt. Amarinder, being over-aged as per the criteria of the BJP as he had 75 years in age, was not taken in the party but followed the BJP leaders’ guidance to form a new political outfit for the  Punjab elections. Consequently, the Punjab Lok Congress (PLC) took birth under his leadership. Since Sirsa has enough years still to reach 75 years of age, he has enrolled himself as a BJP member.

Capt. Amarinder Singh whose members of their family, including himself, are still facing accusations of corruption and FIRs have been registered against all them by the Enforcement Directorates (ED). Therefore, Capt. Amarinder Singh had hardly any choice left, but to follow the dictates of BJP or face cases or even arrests. He chose the best possible path offered to him to play a puppet of the BJP in the Punjab elections. Betraying the farmers and people of Punjab including his mother party Indian National Congress (INC), Amarinder formed his new political outfit. Now, his outfit in alliance with BJP is contesting elections against the farmer leaders.

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi during her recent Punjab visit while addressing an election rally said that Capt. Amarinder Singh had to be removed as CM because he was running the government under the BJP’s high command’s directions. That shows how Capt. Amarinder Singh, according to her, was already betraying the Congress, to which his cabinet ministers protested, demanding his removal.

Capt. Amarinder Singh failed to attract a too large number of defections from the Punjab Congress. He could manage only Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, chairman, SAD (Sanyukt), who’s neither a mass leader nor has much following in Punjab to join his alliance. Bhagwant Mann of the Aam Adami Party (AAP) had made Dhindsa no more a relevant politician in Punjab and twice defeated him in parliament elections with big margins. He has been interested in keeping the political future of his son alive who had remained cabinet minister for two terms in the SAD (Badal) government in Punjab.

The BJP high command knows that its party’s future in Punjab is bleak in the Punjab elections. The BJP may win two to five seats in this election in the absence of any support from a mass-based party like SAD (Badal). The BJP and its “jamgat” (conglomeration) of two other parties may not be able to cross even double-digit figures as reports simmering from Punjab suggest.

The BJP led three-party alliance managed by Capt. Amarinder Singh has been a big gain for the BJP even if it is unable to win a few seats in Punjab. This alliance has provided a platform to Modi for addressing three rallies in Punjab. With enough Sikhs present on the stages surrounding Modi and creating an image that despite the farmers' protests he still holds enough sway among the Sikhs. This is another way the BJP attempts to humiliate the Punjab farmers that the PM Modi has succeeded in addressing three rallies of its party in Punjab wearing saffron turban. On the stage, besides Capt.  Amarinder Singh and Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa on his side, many Sikh wearing turbans are seen. This is an iconic pic for the PM to show to the country and world over that he still holds sway with farmers in Punjab.

If this two leaders-Capt. Amarinder Singh and Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa- have not betrayed Punjab farmers and people of Punjab, Modi would not have got such a platform full of Sikh faces and small gatherings at his rallies. Some farmers' organizations did lodge protests against the PM’s visit. The PM hardly promised anything to farmers and the people of Punjab.

Capt. Amarinder Singh camouflages his betrayal by stating that if his alliance comes to power in Punjab then his government with the alliance of a party whose government is in power at the Centre, Punjab expects to gain too much financially. But what answer he has to this query that in his first term as CM, Punjab, the UPA government led by Mr Manmohan Singh was in power at the Centre, how much Punjab had gained financially? None. At present, the Modi Government’s financial position is at its lowest ever status.

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