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Will ask people to 'punish' BJP in Lok Sabha polls, says Samyukta Kisan Morcha leader Rajewal

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Chandigarh, Apr 4 (PTI) The Samyukta Kisan Morcha, which spearheaded the 2020-21 farmers' stir against the Centre's now-repealed farm laws, on Thursday said it will urge people to "punish" the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections.

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Samyukta Kisan Morcha leader Balbir Singh Rajewal said at a press conference that a rally will be held in Punjab's Jagraon on May 21 as part of its plans to intensify the protest against the BJP.

"Our slogan will be 'BJP harao, corporate bhajao (defeat BJP, chase out corporates)'," Rajewal said.

The decision to oppose the BJP was taken during the Kisan Mazdoor Mahapanchayat at Delhi's Ramlila Maidan.

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Thousands of farmers took part in the mahapanchayat on March 14 during which a resolution was passed to intensify the protest against the Centre's policies regarding the farming sector.

Among their many demands, the farmers are seeking a legal guarantee for minimum support price on all crops, according to the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission, and farm loan waiver.

Rajewal said the farmers will be mobilised for the May 21 Jagraon rally.

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In order to oppose and defeat the BJP candidates, it has also been decided to prepare a questionnaire and print a pamphlet for distribution among the public.

A five-member committee comprising Rajewal, Prem Singh Bhangu, Ravneet Singh Brar, Baldev Singh Nihalgarh and Angrej Singh has been formed to oversee the preparation of the questionnaire and the pamphlet.

Responding to a question, Rajewal said, "We will ask the people to punish the BJP and also urge them to vote for a winning candidate. We will not support any single party." Polling for Punjab's 13 Lok Sabha seats will be held on June 1.

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Rajewal also announced the decision to suspend its proposed April 8 agitation in Chandigarh after the Punjab government withdrew its move to declare corporate silos as wheat procurement centres.

Rajewal said the Samyukta Kisan Morcha has demanded that the Punjab government scrap the provision in the Agricultural Produce Marketing Act, which validates the creation of private procurement centres, by making necessary amendments.

He said they do not, however, oppose silos for storing foodgrain.

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On April 2, the state government withdrew its decision to declare private silos as wheat procurement centres after various farmers' outfits threatened to hold protests.

A steel silo provides a scientific way of storing foodgrain and ensures better preservation in comparison to conventional warehouses. A silo can also act as a purchase centre where farmers can bring their crops for sale.

The farmers also demanded adequate compensation for the wheat crop damaged because of recent untimely rain and hailstorms. PTI CHS VSD SZM

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