Chandigarh: Punjab BJP general secretary Malwinder Singh Kang resigned from the party Saturday in protest against the three new farm laws passed by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government. The legislation have triggered protests by farmer bodies across the state.
Showing solidarity with the protesting farmers, Kang said he had been trying to raise his voice within the party against the Acts but “was told (by BJP leaders) that I am speaking the language of Pakistanis”.
“There is no space for any difference of opinion in BJP. Every decision that is taken has to be abided by,” he told mediapersons after tendering his resignation. He also said many party leaders talk about this off the record but “no one has the courage to speak up openly”.
Kang is the first among the senior BJP leaders in the state to have resigned from the party over the issue. He was also one of the rare prominent Sikh faces of the party.
In his resignation letter addressed to Punjab BJP president Ashwani Sharma, Kang wrote: “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.”
He also made it clear that his resignation was in solidarity with farmers.
“The farmers, arhtiyas, small traders and labour organisations have been democratically and rightly protesting against the new acts passed by the central government since the last many weeks,” Kang added. “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.”
Reacting to the resignation, Raveen Thukral, media advisor to Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh tweeted: “First its oldest ally quits, then Punjab farmers block the entry of its leaders in villages and now their own leaders are resigning, and still @BJP4India claims #FarmBills are beneficial to the farmers. How long will those at the helm in Delhi continue to be in denial mode!”
First its oldest ally quits, then Punjab farmers block the entry of its leaders in villages and now their own leaders are resigning, and still @BJP4India claims #FarmBills are beneficial to the farmers. How long will those at the helm in Delhi continue to be in denial mode! https://t.co/b73D3Q7HmJ
— Raveen Thukral (@RT_MediaAdvPbCM) October 17, 2020
Spate of resignations in BJP
There has been a spate of resignations in the Punjab BJP over the farm Acts.
Earlier this month, four former BJP councillors of the Abohar Municipal Council had resigned from the primary membership of the party. Last month, three local BJP leaders from Ferozepur district quit after President Ram Nath Kovind gave assent to the three farm bills passed by Parliament.
On 14 October, almost four dozen BJP leaders from Nabha, Khanna and Mukerian joined SAD in presence of MP and SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal.
Kang’s resignation comes in wake of state-wide protests by farmers against the three new farm laws. They have intensified their protests after talks with the Modi government failed.
The protesting farmers Saturday burnt effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi while leading short marches from the protest sites. Farmers are holding sit-in dharnas on railway tracks, toll plazas, reliance petrol pumps and stores. They are also gheraoing BJP leaders outside their houses.
BJP president Ashwini Sharma was allegedly attacked by the protesting farmers at a toll plaza in Hoshiarpur last week.
The BJP’s state leadership has been tasked with meeting farmers and dispelling their apprehensions regarding the three acts. Union ministers are addressing the farmers through virtual rallies.