News Desk: Farmer leader Balbir Singh Rajewal said on Thursday that he would be visiting Kolkata ahead of the West Bengal Assembly elections to dissuade people from voting for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He also said that teams will visit the poll-bound states and union territory to appeal to the people to vote for any other party.
“It has been 105 days of farmers’ protest. We have decided to form teams that will visit the 5 states where elections are going to be held. An appeal will be made that people can vote for anyone but not BJP. I’ll go to Kolkata,” Rajewal said in Chandigarh.
Farmers, in their thousands, have been protesting against the Centre’s contentious farm laws for over 100 days since November. According to them, the laws will take away the minimum support price (MSP) and will allow a wider scope for exploitation by private players and big corporates.
The farmers have made it clear that they would not bring an end to the protests until all three laws were repealed, while the Centre has refused to do so. Several rounds of talks between the two parties have ended in a stalemate.
Four states and one union territory are set to have their Assembly polls – West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.
The BJP, in West Bengal, is the main opposition to the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC). After managing to grab a meagre three seats in the state’s 2016 Assembly elections, the party grabbed 19 out of 42 seats in the Lok Sabha polls.
They have managed to poach several former TMC stalwarts like Suvendu Adhikari, Dinesh Trivedi and Rajib Banerjee ahead of the polls and have also roped in senior actor Mithun Chakraborty.
Party heavyweights like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and Yogi Adityanath have campaigned in the state as the polls near.
The polling process for the state will be stretched over a month and will span over eight polling phases. It will begin on March 27 and conclude on April 29, with the result scheduled to be announced on May 2.