Chandigarh: Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu on Thursday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was “troubled” with only 15 minutes of wait whereas farmers protested against the farm laws for a year.
In a “major security lapse”, Modi’s convoy was left stranded on a flyover in Ferozepur on Wednesday after some protesting farmers blocked the road forcing the PM to return from poll-bound Punjab without attending any event or rally.
“I want to ask Pradhan Mantri Sahab, our farmer brothers camped at the Delhi borders for over one year … Tell me, they stayed there for one and half-year. Your media did not say anything. And yesterday you had to wait for 15 minutes,” Sidhu said addressing a rally at Barnala.
“Why these double standards,” he asked.
He alleged instead of doubling farmers’ income as promised, Modi took whatever little the farmers had. He said only 500 people turned up at the BJP rally which was to be addressed by Modi at Ferozepur.
Sidhu also called former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh “shameless” for addressing “empty chairs” at the rally.
Later, Sidhu in a tweet alleged that the whole event was to divert attention from the low turnout at the rally.
“PM couldn’t have addressed empty chairs like shameless Ex CM Captain (Amarinder Singh). Only way out was to divert media attention to the alleged security threat & save humiliation of addressing 500 people on 70000 chairs.
“This is a colossal failure of BJP in Punjab. They were like a burst balloon!!” he wrote.
Addressing a press conference earlier in the day, Punjab BJP chief Ashwani Sharma dismissed as baseless claims that not many turned up for the BJP’s Ferozepur rally and alleged that the state police was instructed not to allow party workers from reaching the rally site.
He alleged the government was deliberately preventing the Prime Minister to inaugurate developmental projects worth thousands of crores, as it feared the BJP will gain public support.
“Congress leaders say that chairs were empty at the Ferozepur rally, but despite obstacles our workers faced, thousands reached the rally venue. You should question the government why were our buses were stopped at several places?” asked Sharma.
Activists of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Krantikari) on Wednesday had blocked the road near village Piareana on Ferozepur-Moga road as part of their protest.
The PM’s convoy got stuck on a flyover for 15-20 minutes when it reached near village Piareana on Ferozepur-Moga road.
Faced with the blockade, the PM’s convoy drove back to Bathinda airport.
Modi after landing in Bathinda on Wednesday had to take the road route to Hussainiwala in Ferozepur because of the inclement weather.