Amid the Punjab Civic Body Polls, farmers in Amritsar on Sunday raised slogans and protested against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the new farm laws. The polling for Punjab civic body elections began at 8 am and ended at 4 pm. The farmers, during the protest, said that they will not let the BJP booths to be set up as the government is not taking back the new farm laws.
Sonu Mahal, a farmer present during the protests told the media, "Today, during the local body elections in Amritsar, we are protesting against the BJP. A large number of our farmer brothers are riding on bikes and arriving in ward number 37 to participate in the protests. The BJP government is not taking back the new farm laws. So, today we will not allow the BJP booths to be set up on election day and we shall oppose wherever the party's booths are installed"
Supporting the farmers, Congress MLA Inderbir Singh Bolaria, who had arrived to cast his vote at a polling booth, asserted, "Even the British are opposing the BJP because the farmers are the backbone of our economy and the whole country is with the farmers. Congress stands in solidarity with the farmers."
The polling was done on a total of 117 local bodies including eight municipal corporations and 109 municipal councils. Bathinda recorded the highest voters' turnout with 48.42 per cent polling till 12 pm on Sunday, whereas, Ludhiana's Sahiwal Nagar witnessed 20 per cent voters' turnout till 10 am. The voters' turnout in Ludhiana's Payal was recorded at 14.6 per cent till 10 am and in Ludhiana's Jagraon, it was 13 per cent. The voting trend was 22.62 per cent in Nihal Singh Wala in Moga district and 14 per cent in Jalandhar Municipal Corporation.
The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, aims at freeing the farmers from the constraints of the state Agriculture Produce Market Committees whereby they would be able to sell their produce anywhere. Meanwhile, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 protects and empowers farmers to engage with processors, wholesalers, large retailers, exporters for farm services. This entails the provision of contract farming. The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020, specifies that the supply of foodstuffs including cereals, pulses, potato, edible oilseeds, and oils shall be regulated only under exceptional circumstances.
(with inputs from ANI)