As crop burning in Punjab and Haryana is being blamed for Delhi’s smog, political parties are ‘playing it safe’ keeping in mind the upcoming Punjab polls. 

Aam Aadmi Party chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has been holding farmers in Punjab responsible for Delhi’s pollution and termed the situation as alarming. However, his own party members in Punjab are doing what could be completely contradictory to what their party chief’s concerns.

According to a report by Economic Times, local AAP leaders in Punjab are saving farmers from ‘harassment at the hands of officials’. They are slamming persecution against farmers who burn crops as unjustified, adding that the farmers cannot afford expensive machinery.

b’A representational image | Source: Reuters’

“Most farmers cannot afford the seeding machines as each machine costs 70-80 lakh at least,” Kanwar Sidhu, an AAP leader from Punjab told Economic Times

Consequently, the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Protection Control Authority (EPCA) has admitted that there has been a considerable decline in the number of challans against environmental violations.  

The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) government fares no better. 

“We do not wish to risk upsetting farmers just ahead of the polls,” Punjab agriculture department officials said, reports India Today. Farmers form the biggest chunk of vote bank as according to 2011 census data, 62.5 percent of Punjab’s total population is engaged primarily in farming.

b’Smog in Delhi | Source: PTI’

The state’s agriculture Tota Singh blatantly refused to accept the fact that Punjab is responsible for Delhi’s current mess.

“It (smog) is not from Punjab, it has been emitted from your (Delhi’s) vehicular traffic, coal-based power plants and burning of garbage. Please don’t blame Punjab for your pollution. Punjab has already suffered a lot due to false publicity as a drug state,” he told Union Environment Minister Anil Dave in New Delhi on Monday, reports Hindustan Times.

(Feature image source: AFP)