New Delhi: Amid protests by lakhs of farmers in outskirts of Delhi demanding the repeal of the recent contentious farm laws passed by the BJP led government of India, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi’s meeting with a delegation of farmers in Kutch Gujarat dominated the headlines last week.
However, reports published by Delhi-based news organisations said that the Modi met farmers (of his own choice) to dispel their worries and address their grievances regarding farms laws, but it was later revealed “after an investigation that it was all lies propagated by the media with an aim to divert the attention from the protest and to send out a message that Modi is not indifferent to the farmers’ plight and protest”.
An investigative report by Junputh (a Hindi website) and NH revealed that those who met the PM during his Kutch visit were “BJP activists from Sikh community, not farmers”. And the topic of the discussion was not even related to the protest but the “construction of a Gurudwara in Lakhpat Taluka in Kutch region”.
The person who led the delegation of the alleged farmers is BJP general secretary of Kutch zone – Raju Bhai Sardar. Donning an orange turban, Raju Sardar can be seen sitting in front of the PM in the picture tweeted out by the news agency ANI on December 15.
Gujarat: PM Narendra Modi met people from various groups in Kutch, today.
PM Narendra Modi attended the foundation stone laying ceremony of development projects in Kutch today. pic.twitter.com/BvRLk57gsO
— ANI (@ANI) December 15, 2020
While tweeting the picture, ANI and the Twitter handle of the Chief Minister of Gujarat said the prime minister of India met with various local groups from Kutch, Kutchi women involved in handicraft activities and “Sikh farmers.” Raju Sardar also claimed that he led a delegation of farmers to meet the PM.
During his visit to Kutch, PM Shri @narendramodi, accompanied by CM Shri @vijayrupanibjp, met and interacted with various local groups including Kutchi women active in handicraft activities as well as Sikh farmers who are settled in Kutch. pic.twitter.com/fRIIpYA7oS
— CMO Gujarat (@CMOGuj) December 15, 2020
During his visit to Kutch, PM Shri @narendramodi, accompanied by CM Shri @vijayrupanibjp, met and interacted with various local groups including Kutchi women active in handicraft activities as well as Sikh farmers who are settled in Kutch.
But when a reporter from the TV news channel Aaj Tak asked one of the farmers about the topic discussed in the meeting, he said that the discussion was focused on constriction of a Gurudwara.
A report by National Herald said that at the same time Modi was holding a meeting with the groups of men there, a group of real farmers were agitating against the farm laws in Kutch.
But the news of protesting farmers was completely boycotted by the Gujarati as well as Delhi based media organisations, the report said.
Quoting those who know Kutch politics, National Herald reported that they have pointed out that Raju Bhai Sardar’s real name is Jugraj Singh and he belongs to Nara village. A restaurateur, Sardar rose to prominence in BJP’s hierarchy after he led a similar delegation of Sikhs to meet Modi who as Chief Minister of Gujarat was then facing Sikhs’ angst over the freezing of land accounts in 2013.
Before becoming zonal secretary of the BJP, Sardar was elected Sarpanch of Nara with active support from the BJP activists.