Farmers' protests against Indo-Pak trade: Punjab's top issues in the Lok Sabha elections

In Punjab, as the Lok Sabha elections near, the political landscape is marked by a robust campaign revolving around various regional and national issues. While the opposition parties, particularly the Congress and AAP, focus on issues such as the farmer agitation, alleged misuse of central agencies, and economic concerns stemming from the closure of trade with Pakistan, the BJP underscores the achievements of the central government and its commitment to development.

**Farmer Agitation**: The farmer agitation takes center stage in Punjab's political discourse, with the Congress and AAP leveraging it to challenge the BJP. The demands include legal MSP guarantees, implementation of Swaminathan Commission recommendations, and justice for farmers killed in the Lakhimpur Kheri incident. The BJP counters by highlighting its proposal for a five-year contract to purchase select crops and questions the demand for MSP for non-Punjab crops.

**Misuse of Central Agencies**: The Congress targets the BJP over the alleged misuse of central agencies, citing raids linked to pro-Khalistani outfits and actions by agencies like the NIA, ED, and CBI. They also raise concerns about the Citizenship Amendment Act. The BJP defends its actions and focuses on other issues.

**Closure of India-Pak Trade**: Congress raises concerns about the closure of trade between India and Pakistan, impacting Punjab's economy. They demand the reopening of the Atari border for trade. Trade bodies echo this sentiment. BJP attributes the trade closure to broader geopolitical issues.

**Blocking Funds for State**: AAP accuses the Union government of withholding rural development funds, affecting Punjab's economy. They highlight unutilized funds and allege deliberate attempts to hamper Punjab's progress. Congress echoes these concerns.

**Development Plank**: BJP emphasizes the development works undertaken by the Modi government in Punjab over the past decade. They criticize AAP for unfulfilled promises, corruption, rising debt, and deteriorating law and order. BJP refutes allegations against its handling of farmer issues and portrays itself as the party committed to farmers' welfare.

The political narrative in Punjab reflects a clash of ideologies and priorities, with each party vying to sway voters with their respective agendas. As the state gears up for elections, the contest promises to be intense, shaped by these critical issues and the contrasting visions presented by the competing parties.

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