New Delhi: The suicide by a Rajasthani farmer during an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) rally here on Wednesday triggered a blame-game among political parties.
The AAP blamed Delhi Police for not acting in time to save the farner’s life, and along with the Congress took a dig at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government over farmers’ plight.
The BJP questioned the AAP’s logic of continuing the rally despite a tragedy at the event.
AAP leader Kumar Vishwas said that Delhi Police did not react in time to save the farmer, Gajendra Singh, who hanged himself from a tree at AAP’s farmers’ rally here on Wednesday.
Vishwas said he and other AAP leaders, including Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, started asking police to bring down the farmer from the tree but to no avail.
“Police did not play their role properly. Police should have made efforts to save Gajendra Singh’s life. It were AAP activists who put their lives at risk and brought him down and took him to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital,” he said.
Singh was declared brought dead at the hospital.
Vishwas said it was a very unfortunate moment and reflected the sad state of farmers in the country.
“Gajendra’s decision to take this extreme step reveals the plight of thousands of farmers whose crops have been damaged and who are now facing the danger of acquisition of their land,” he said.
Asked why the rally was not stopped despite the suicide incident, AAP leader Sanjay Singh said: “If we had stopped the rally, there would have been a stampede or other law and order problems. We asked people to remain calm.”
Describing as “wrong” the AAP’s allegation that the police personnel did not save the farmer at the rally, Delhi Police said they were probing the incident.
“We will be in a position to say anything only after the inquiry is completed,” Joint Commissioner of Police Mukesh Kumar Meena said.
The BJP sought to know from the AAP its logic of continuing with the rally despite the farmer’s death.
“Why didn’t the AAP leaders stop the farmer from committing suicide?” said BJP spokesman Sambit Patra. “Even as they knew that he (the farmer) committed suicide, the Delhi chief minister continued with his speech.”
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, who visited the Lady Hardinge Hospital on Wednesday where the body of the farmer was brought for autopsy, said: “The farmers are being punished by the (Narendra) Modi government. It is a government that heads the corporates of this country… is fully focused on helping them.”
“And this is causing tremendous pain and damage to the farmers and labourers of this country,” he added.
Congress leader Sachin Pilot said it was “shocking” how farmers were killing themselves in the absence of proper compensation for their destroyed crops. “It’s shameful that farmers are forced to take their lives in absence of financial support when in need.”
“It’s not about Gajender Singh alone; it’s about all those who either tried to commit suicide or have committed it,” Pilot added.