In what seems like a veiled threat to the central government, Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Tuesday tried to use the Lakhimpur Kheri violence as leverage to demand the invalidation of three farm laws.
Ahead of his meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah, Channi said three agriculture laws should be immediately repealed and incidents like the Lakhimpur Kheri violence should be stopped. He said he would discuss the incident during his meeting with the Union Minister.
Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi leaves from Chandigarh for New Delhi to meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah pic.twitter.com/90Ok0hYTbK— ANI (@ANI) October 5, 2021
Channi is tentatively scheduled to meet Amit Shah at 6 in the evening. This will be Channi’s first meeting with the Union Home Minister after being elected to the Punjab CM position on September 20 after Captain Amarinder Singh tendered his resignation following a prolonged conflict with then Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu and some other leaders.
Earlier yesterday, Channi, along with his cabinet colleagues, met governor Banwarilal Purohit and submitted a memorandum marked to PM Modi, asking him to direct the Uttar Pradesh government to ensure justice is delivered to the families of victims of the Lakhimpur Kheri violence.
In the memorandum, the CM also sought the annulment of the three agriculture laws.
Violence in Lakhimpur Kheri
On October 3, eight people died after BJP workers were attacked by protesting ‘farmers’ at Lakhimpur Kheri, Uttar Pradesh. As per reports, a large group of alleged farmers had gathered in Lakhimpur Kheri to mark their protest against the three Agriculture laws enacted in September last year. Deputy CM was scheduled to visit Lakhimpur Kheri. The protesters went violent and pelted stones at BJP’s convey.
One of the cars allegedly hit the protestors, after which the protestors not only burnt two vehicles but also ambushed the people and beat the occupants of the vehicle to death. Disturbing visuals had emerged of the incident that led to several speculations. CM Yogi promised to take strict action against whoever was behind the incident. A heavy police force was deployed in Lakhimpur Kheri to maintain law and order.
Opposition parties unite to exploit Lakhimpur Kheri violence to undermine Yogi Adityanath government ahead of UP assembly polls
Channi’s meeting with Union Minister Home Minister Amit Shah is seen as a part of a concerted attempt by the opposition parties to corner the central government on the Lakhimpur Kheri incident, months before assembly elections are scheduled to take place in Uttar Pradesh. From Priyanka Gandhi’s theatrics to Akhilesh Yadav’s insistence on visiting the village, to the Aam Aadmi Party’s rhetorics on the violence that engulfed the village in the wake of attack unleashed by ‘protesting’ farmers, the otherwise fragmented opposition parties seemed to be united in their objective of besmirching the Yogi Adityanath’s impressive governance record in Uttar Pradesh by insinuating involvement of his administration in stoking violence.
Separately, the incident has also, in part, afforded the Congress party time to set its house in order in Punjab, which was in flux after Punjab Congress President Navjot Singh Sidhu submitted his resignation on September 28, barely 10 days after Captain Amarinder Singh resigned from the post of Punjab CM amidst enduring disagreement within the party. Channi was then selected as the chief minister to lead the state even though speculations were rife that the position was a mere nominal post, with Sidhu being the acting chief and the person at the helm of affairs in Punjab.
Even so, Gandhis were not sure whether a change in guard in Punjab would iron out the many problems facing the party. With the fallout with Captain Amarinder Singh fresh in mind, Gandhis were reluctant to give free rein to new CM Charanjit Singh Channi and Navjot Singh Sidhu, lest other leaders in the state mimic Singh and start submitting their resignations. From administrative shuffle to the appointment of bureaucrats to the selection of ministers in the new Punjab Cabinet, Gandhis were reportedly having a say in all decisions concerning the state. The decision to take absolute control in Punjab state stemmed from the bad optics the party attracted in the wake of the unceremonious removal of Captain Amarinder Singh from the post of the chief minister.
But this decision was beset with another set of problems as Sidhu felt smothered and helpless operating under the shadows of the Gandhis. And shortly later, he decided he can no longer put up with the indignity meted out on him by the Gandhis and resigned from the post of Pradesh Congress Committee chief. With the focus shifted to the Lakhimpur Kheri incident, the Congress party is desperately seeking to bridge the internecine conflicts existing in its ranks and salvaging the party’s only remaining bastion, which is also set to go to polls early next year.