Cong being behind targeting of its offices, leaders in Punjab: BJP

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Ludhiana, Dec 27 (PTI) The Punjab unit of the BJP on Sunday accused the ruling Congress of being behind frequent targeting of its offices and leaders in the state by some criminal elements masquerading as farmers.

Accusing the Congress of resorting to the “murder of democracy” in Punjab, state BJP chief Ashwani Sharma said the BJP leaders were not being allowed to hold party functions and programmes without the threat of disruption.

“This is the murder of democracy. We are being denied our democratic rights. All this is being done at the behest of the Congress party,” he alleged at a press conference here.

Sharma further alleged that people in the guise of farmers have been sitting on ‘dharna’ for the past three months in front of the residences of Punjab’s prominent BJP leaders.

These persons, he claimed, are not farmers but those who wanted to disturb the hard-earned peaceful atmosphere of the state.

“The police too have been silent spectator throughout,” he claimed.

He said a delegation of senior BJP leaders will soon meet the Punjab DGP to apprise him of the situation.

“Our functions have been peaceful. Even if anyone wants to kill us, we will stand for the peace and harmony of the state,” he added.

On Friday, to protest against Centre's new farm laws, some farmers had allegedly disrupted the birth anniversary function of late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in Bathinda by ransacking a makeshift venue prepared by the district unit of the BJP.

Ashwani Sharma said the police registered an FIR in the incident only after a great persuasion by the BJP.

In reply to a question, he asserted that “the BJP has been and will always be pro- farmers”.

He said he was optimistic of the outcome of the upcoming meeting between the Union government and the agitating farmers’ leaders in Delhi on Tuesday.

A day earlier BJP general secretary Tarun Chugh had alleged that the state had lately been witnessing frequent incidents like blocking of roads and rail traffic, disrupting the operation of toll plazas and the snapping of telecommunication lines “which indicate that disruptive forces have been at work and the police have failed to control them”.

“The frequent targeting of the BJP offices and leaders in violent attacks has added a serious dimension to the law and order situation in Punjab,” he had said.

“In the name of farmers' agitation, Naxal forces have been let loose in the state,' Chugh had said in a statement.

Chugh had also urged farmer leaders to make sure that such disruptive elements did not defame the farmers' cause and paralyse public services. PTI CORR SUN VSD RAX RAX