India General Elections 2024: Can PM win them over?

23 May,2024 06:45 AM IST |  Patiala  |  Faisal Tandel

As farmers remain immovable, it is left to the unstoppable force of PM Narendra Modi to try and swing the state for the BJP

Farmers sit on protest in a tent erected at Patiala’s Shambhu village, which borders Haryana, on Wednesday. Pic/Faisal Tandel

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The Punjab Police have deployed additional forces in anticipation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Patiala on Thursday. The heightened security is in response to potential protests by farmers who may attempt to disrupt the visit or raise concerns about ongoing agricultural issues directly with Modi.

The Punjab Police are taking extensive precautionary measures to ensure that law and order are maintained throughout the event. Security agencies have decided to frisk every individual entering the venue on Thursday.

Agitating farmers Patiala's Shambhu village, which borders Haryana, on Wednesday. Pics/Faisal Tandel

According to sources, more than 6,000 police officers and personnel have been at the spot since Tuesday. Naka bandis have been set up at various locations and vehicles are being checked. The police are also visiting hotels and lodges to check for unwanted activities or suspicious individuals. This will be Modi's first visit to Punjab during election season.

"In light of the farmer protest, we are taking every precautionary measure. All checkpoints will be blocked to ensure no farmer who could be planning anything unseemly is allowed in the direction of the venue. This arrangement will be in place till the PM leaves the city," said an officer.

‘We have questions for PM'

A farmer said, "We are not boycotting the PM. We just want to ask him questions and he should reply to them. We have the right to question him."

He added, "While implementing demonetisation, the PM said if it went wrong, people could make him stand in the chowk and ask questions. But we have a PM who is not also ready to speak or meet the people. No one can go near him because of his security. Even if the police are deploying forces to stop us, we will go to the venue as we are not terrorists. We are farmers and Indian citizens."

He added he would ask the PM why the police were resorting to lathi-charges and building a concentre wall to "stop farmers". "Why were bullets fired? He should reply to these questions," the farmer said.

Another farmer said, "When we were planning the protest, raids were conducted at our houses and our entire families were disturbed. Rather than holding a rally to show off, Modi should address public concerns."

Sources indicate that the police are attempting to defuse the situation by reaching out to farmer unions, though no officials were ready to comment on the same.
"We are meeting union leaders and trying to sort out the issue to ensure no slogans are raised during the rally. The PM's security team and Punjab Police had a meeting where security arrangements during the rally were discussed. All precautionary measures are being taken to keep the farmers away from the venue," said an officer.

The PM is visiting Patiala to campaign for the Lok Sabha constituency's BJP candidate Preneet Kaur, the wife of former CM Captain Amarinder Singh. The former Congress politician is believed to be a pro-farmer leader as he had opposed the three farm laws enacted by the Centre. Singh and Kaur will share the dais with Modi at Polo Ground.

No. of police officers stationed at spot

May 23
Day PM's rally is being held

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