Tribune News Service
New Delhi, September 5
It was a massive show of strength and unity in Muzaffarnagar in the poll-bound Uttar Pradesh today as farmers from across the country gathered for a “kisan mahapanchayat” organised by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha.
Over 300 farmer unions from 15 states and several “khaps” from the region participated in the event organised in the home turf of BKU (Tikait) leader Rakesh Tikait, who belongs to the Baliyan “khap” headed by his elder brother Naresh Tikait.
ON THE SIDELINES
- Farmers belonging to 300 groups from UP, Haryana, Punjab, Maha and Karnataka attended the event
- As many as 5,000 ‘langars’, including mobile stalls, set up for participants
- The administration denied RLD’s request to sprinkle flowers from a helicopter on the participants
However, Rajendra Singh, head of the Gathwal Malik “khap”, one of the major ones in the region extending up to Haryana, did not turn up. He is apparently upset over an attack on BJP MLA Umesh Malik in Tikait’s village, Sisauli. Farmer leaders, however, insisted that other members of Gathwal Malik “khap” attended the event.
- Agitating farmers get support from unexpected quarters; BJP’s Varun Gandhi urges government to ‘re-engage’ with them
- BJP terms ‘Kisan Mahapanchayat’ in Muzaffarnagar ‘election meeting’
- Cong voices support for ‘kisan mahapanchayat’, Rahul says ‘unjust govt’ will have to listen
Must re-engage with farmers: Varun
They (farmers) are our flesh and blood. We must re-engage with them in a respectful manner, understand their pain and their point of view. —Varun Gandhi, BJP
They have political motives: BJP
The UP BJP accused event organisers of having political motives and claimed it was attended by workers of parties brought from other states. It maintained that no govt had done as much for farmers as the one led by PM Modi.
Rahul: Unjust govt will have to listen
The Congress voiced support for mahapanchayat with party leader Rahul Gandhi saying an “unjust government” would have to listen to the farmers.
This apart, the event saw a mammoth gathering with farmers from Punjab and Haryana making up more than 50 per cent of the total strength. Unions reiterated their resolve to continue the protest, giving a call for a bandh on September 27.
Demanding Rs 450 per quintal SAP for sugarcane in UP, Tikait attacked the economic policies of the Modi government. “India has been put up for sale and national assets are being sold to the private sector,” he said, lashing out at National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP).
Emphasising that the government needed “vote ki chot” (defeat through votes), he said the slogan of “fasalon ke daam nahi to vote nahi” would have to be raised.
Referring to PM Modi, CM Yogi and Home Minister Amit Shah as “outsiders”, Tikait said he had no objection if they become PM after winning from Uttarakhand or Gujarat, “but on the soil of Uttar Pradesh they will not be tolerated”.
Notably, BJP’s Pilibhit MP Varun Gandhi and Muzaffarnagar MP Sanjiv Balyan demanded resumption of talks between the government and protesting unions.
Farmers’ leaders made it clear that they would campaign against the BJP in UP and Uttarakhand, if their demands were not accepted. They threatened to continue the agitation till the 2024 Lok Sabha poll. “They (the Centre) said only a handful of farmers are protesting. Let us raise our voice so it reaches the ears of those sitting in Parliament,” the speakers said. The next meeting will be held in Lucknow to back cane growers.
Observer and Samajwadi leader Prof Sudhir Panwar said slogans of “Har Har Mahadev” and “Allah Hu Akbar” were raised. The meeting was successful in expressing the message of Hindu-Muslim unity, he said.
A woman leader from Karnataka addressed the gathering in Kannada.
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