“When a farmaan is issued, you cannot oppose. We are told that if Modi has decided then it must be right. No one cares about farmers,” Malwinder Singh Kang said after resigning as the general secretary of BJP's Punjab unit.
Kang, who was a prominent Sikh face of the BJP in Punjab, has quit in protest against new agriculture legislations introduced by the Narendra Modi government.
The legislations have sparked massive protests across Punjab.
"“Morally, I felt I couldn’t remain in the party.”" - Malwinder Singh Kang on quitting as Punjab BJP general secretary
"I wanted to stand with farmers, with everyone who is fighting these harmful laws. But I couldn't as I was bound by party discipline. This is why, morally, I felt I couldn't remain in the party," Kang told a Punjabi news channel.
Kang even ended his resignation letter with the slogan “Kisan mazdoor ekta zindabad”.
Kang’s Resignation Letter
“The farmers, arthtiyas, small traders and labour organisations have been democratically and rightly protesting against the new acts passed by the central government since last many weeks. As a general secretary of the state BJP and being a member of the core group of the party, I raised my voice in support of the protesting farmers, arhtiyas, small traders and labour organisations at the party platform. I requested the party's state and central leadership many times to hear the aforesaid protesting persons and to address their grievances but no positive step was taken in that direction.
Therefore, while supporting the farmer agitation I resign from the post of state general secretary, member of the core group of the party and from the primary membership of the party. Kisan Mazdoor Ekta Zindabad".
‘They Shouted Me Down’
In his subsequent interviews to Punjabi channels, Kang was particularly critical of the manner in which BJP functions.
"I used every forum available to me to raise the concerns of farmers against these laws. But other leaders always shouted me down. This happened even in the presence of a Union minister as well as in front of BJP national general secretary Tarun Chugh. They say that farmers are being manipulated," Kang said.
"“They always shouted me down. They said farmers are being manipulated’" - Malwinder Singh Kang
"One leader even accused me of speaking Pakistan's language. Of course a few others told him not to say such things," Kang told PTC News.
Kang laid a great deal of blame on his erstwhile colleagues at the Punjab BJP.
"Punjab BJP isn't for Punjabis. They aren't concerned about the state. All they say is that Modi is always right," Kang said.
He said that the Punjab BJP unit consistently refused his demand of taking a delegation to the central government on farmers’ issues. Kang said that besides state leaders, he also reached out to some central leaders and RSS functionaries, but to no avail.
Backlash Against BJP in Punjab
Kang's resignation must be seen as part of the massive backlash the BJP is facing in Punjab. Recently, the convoy of Punjab BJP chief Ashwani Sharma was attacked by protesters.
Protesting farmers have also gheraoed the residences of several Punjab BJP leaders, restricting their movements.
There have also been a series of resignations in the BJP state unit, though Kang has been the most high profile leader to quit.
Series of Resignations
Among the first to quit were functionaries from the Ferozepur district unit who had been associated with the party for 20 years: Kisan Morcha leader Kikar Singh Kutbewala, Charandeep Singh, general secretary of Ferozepur (rural) unit and former block samiti member Angrej Singh Mintu.
Then five sitting councilors from Gurdaspur Muncipal Council – Jagjit Singh Bains, Jasbir Kaur Bains, Ram Lal, Jaswant Jassa and Manoj Kumar – resigned from the primary membership of the party.
In Abohar in Fazilka district, four former municipal councillors also resigned from the party.
The BJP's troubles in Punjab are likely to increase, with the Kisan Unions planning to intensify the demonstrations outside BJP leaders' homes.
Then on 19 October, the Punjab Assembly will be convened to pass a law protecting farmers from the Centre's laws. BJP is the only party supporting the Centre's laws and its two MLAs will be up against over one hundred from the ruling Congress, Opposition Aam Aadmi Party and Lok Insaf Party and BJP's former ally, the Shiromani Akali Dal.
The SAD quit the BJP-led NDA in protest against the farm laws.
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