AICC: Haryana leaders urge caution on AICC stir in support of farmers

February 9, 2021 0 By boss

NEW DELHI: Many senior Congress leaders from Haryana, the epicentre of farmers’ stir alongside Punjab and western UP, have urged the party leadership to not gift the ruling BJP an opening to discredit the movement by giving it a political colour, sources told ET.

The note of caution comes as the All India Congress Committee has asked party units across states to conduct a three-phase protest programme through February in support of the agitation.

This also coincides with party leader Rahul Gandhi’s plan to address two rallies in Rajasthan later this week and elsewhere, as part of the party’s support for the cause.

Many Haryana Congress leaders, including former CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda, it is learnt, flagged their concerns at a closed-door meeting of senior Congress leaders convened in Delhi last Friday by state Pradesh Congress Committee chief Kumari Selja to discuss the proposed agitation plan. AICC in-charge Vivek Bansal was also present at the meeting.

“Let the farmers lead the agitation,” Hooda, the leader of the opposition in the Haryana assembly, is learnt to have said, pointing out that Congress was “already supporting” the farmers’ agitation.

Although Hooda maintained that he would abide by the AICC’s proposal in principle, he warned the Congress party to be careful as the BJP could cite the opposition’s support to try and discredit the farmers’ protests by giving it apolitical twist, sources said.

Senior party leaders Raghuvir Singh Kadian and Jai Prakash, the sources said, also echoed Hooda’s views and pointed out that even farmers’ union leaders have resisted politicians sharing the stage. Kuldeep Bishnoi cautioned the proposed Congress agitation “should not backfire”, sources added.

Selja urged the leaders to organise and participate in the AICC-proposed block-level conventions, padayatra (journey by foot) at all district headquarters and state-level kisan sammelan (farmers’ meetings) in support of the agitating farmers. Congress leaders should also use these programmes to target the Narendra Modi government and the BJP governments in states for their “anti-farmer” policies, she stressed.

Former Congress Legislature Party leader Kiran Chowdary favoured the proposed course, sources said. The proposed agitation coincides with the leadership trying to give another image makeover for Gandhi and informally nudge some state units to ‘spontaneously’ pass resolutions calling for his return as Congress chief.

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