"I am a farmer first and a politician later," one of the leaders said.
Three leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from Ferozpur district, which is considered to be the saffron party's stronghold, have resigned from their posts in protest over the contentious farm bills, The Indian Express has reported.
According to the report, the three leaders-- Kikar Singh Kutbewala, BJP Kisan Mrocha President; Charandeep Singh, general secretary, Ferozepur (rural) and Angrej Singh Mintu, former block samiti member and former general secretary-- resigned soon after President Ram Nath Kovind gave assent to the three bills.
While the three leaders have been associated with the party for the past 20 years, one of them told the newspaper that the current BJP is "is not the BJP of (former Prime Minister) Atal Bihari Vajpayee".
"I have walked with pride holding party flag in hand, but now I have realised that it is not the BJP of (former Prime Minister) Atal Bihari Vajpayee, (former Union minister) Sushma Swaraj and (former state party chief) Kamal Sharma. I cannot stay in a party, which is snatching bread and butter of farmers. I am a farmer first and a politician later," Charandeep Singh said.
"I am the president of Kisan Morcha of this district and I know the ground reality, but I was never consulted. To protest against the legislations, I am resigning from the primary membership of the party. I stand with farmers and I am ready to make any sacrifice for them," Kutbewala told the newspaper, adding that there was no point in sticking with a party that does not listen to the grassroots workers.
"BJP has a strong base in Ferozepur. So if people are resigning, one can gauge the discontent among workers. It is difficult for us to face villagers who are socially boycotting party leaders," a party leader said.The three farm bills, passed in Parliament, have sparked farmers' protests across the country, but particularly in Punjab and Haryana. One of BJP's oldest allies, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had quit the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in protest against the passing of the bills.