Against allegation of the state government’s failure to effectively tackle the Covid pandemic, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday urged the Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) not to go ahead with their proposed dharna, which could prove to be a super-spreader of corona.
Amarinder said that the state had “worked hard not to go the way of states such as Delhi, Maharashtra and even Uttar Pradesh where bodies floating in the Ganga River had exposed the total pandemic mismanagement by the BJP-ruled state. Any event, such as the proposed 3-day dharna of the BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) in Patiala, had the potential to negate the gains made by his government in tackling Covid in the state,” he said.
Captain Amarinder urged the farmers’ group “not to act irresponsibly and jeopardise the lives of their own people with such reckless behaviour amid the pandemic, especially when there is a complete ban in the state on all gatherings and any violation of the ban would be highly detrimental to the interests of Punjab and its people. Such a dharna would draw people mainly from the villages, which were in any case going through a crisis during the second wave of the pandemic.”
Even after the appeal leader of the Ugrahan faction Gurnam Singh Chaduni said that the state government can take any action they wish against the protestors but the agitation will go on as per schedule on 28-29-30 May.
Talking to News18, Joginder Singh Ugrahan said, “How can we shut our mouths and sit quietly when people are dying and there is no arrangement of medicines, beds or facilities against employees etc. We urge state government to make effective arrangements for everyone. The government can take whatever action it wants,” when asked on ban on social gatherings in view of corona.
This has pitted state machinery and a major faction of the protesting farmers against each other despite the fact that the Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has reiterated his support for the agitation against farm reform bills that too on Amarinder Singh’s home turf.