GHAZIPUR: The farmers’ agitation on the Ghazipur border has changed direction as the video of an emotional farmer leader Rakesh Tikait caused outrage among farmers of western Uttar Pradesh even as many of them left their homes and reached the Delhi border overnight.
With this sudden change, it seems as a battle has started between the farmer community and the Uttar Pradesh government. However, Rakesh Tikait denied this and said that this fight is for the farmers only.
The movement was greatly affected after the violence at the Red Fort and on Delhi streets on Republic Day. Farmers’ organisations came under pressure and were hit by various allegations, although Tikait, the national spokesperson of the Bhartiya Kisan Union, said, “There was a storm, and twigs, branches and hollow trees broke up in this storm, and now only the strong pillars are standing.”
On January 28, it had seemed as if the Ghazipur border protests would not last long. But a sentimental appeal from Tikait changed that.
Till now, the main centres of the movement were considered to be the Singhu and Tikri borders, but now Ghazipur border has emerged as a new centre of the protests.
The farmers’ panchayat held in Muzaffarnagar also point to the growing support for Rakesh Tikait and the farmers’ movement.
Uttar Pradesh is set for Assembly polls in 2022 and the activism of political parties is giving a different spin in the backdrop of the farmers’ movement.
Tikait is considered a Jat farmer leader and the number of Jat farmers in western Uttar Pradesh is also high. They can play a big role in the win or loss of any party.
Tikait was asked, “Is this fight now Jats vs state government?”, to which he said “No it is not, there is a farmer from every class in the movement, I have heard this Jat word for the first time in this movement, I have objection to it, this fight is between the farmers and the government.”
Tikait ponted to people standing near him and said, “Are these Jats …?” At the same time, a farmer sitting next to Tikait told IANS, “I am a Pandit and this movement has all sections of farmers.”
Thousands of farmers of western Uttar Pradesh have arrived here on tractors, two-wheeler and cars.
The farmers’ organisations are demanding repeal of all three agricultural laws and legal guarantee for procurement of crops at minimum support price (MSP) while the government is willing to give written assurance to amend the new laws and continue procurement on MSP.
The protesting farmers have been camping at the borders of Delhi since November 26, 2020, demanding withdrawal of the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Price Assurance and Agricultural Services Agreement Act 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020, implemented by the central government, along with purchase of crops at minimum support price.