Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu and other party leaders were detained at Saharanpur on the Haryana-UP border where they staged a dharna on Thursday. Later, they were taken to the Sarsawa Police Station by the UP Police. He demanded the arrest of Union Minister Ajay Kumar Mishra’s son in connection with the death of farmers during violence in Uttar Pradesh, saying he would go on hunger strike if action is not taken against him by Friday. Sidhu said he was ready to sacrifice his life for the cause of farmers.
Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Randhawa and Cabinet Ministers Pargat Singh, and Vijay Inder Singla, besides former ministers Balbir Singh Sidhu, Gurpreet Kangar and Sunder Shyam Arora were among the leaders present. Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi also joined Sidhu for a brief period when the march was about to start in the morning from Mohali.
Instead of holding the party flags, Sidhu and other leaders could be seen holding the flags associated with farmers agitation as slogans of ‘Kisan-mazdoor ekta zindabad’ were raised. Earlier in the day, farmer unions surrounded the cavalcade and then the vehicle in which Sidhu was on his way to Mohali at Dhareri Jattan toll barrier and showed him black flags. It was after much requests by Sidhu that the farmers allowed him to pass through.
Sidhu had resigned from the post of Punjab Congress chief on September 28 but it wasn’t immediately clear if the resignation was withdrawn. Before the protest march Thursday, Sidhu slammed the BJP-led government in UP over the Lakhimpur Kheri incident. He said Punjab Congress and party MLAs are standing firmly with the farmers. He asked why UP authorities hadn’t taken action against Mishra’s son even after an FIR was lodged in the matter.