Thousands of Rakesh Tikait-led farmers gathered in Uttar Pradesh’s (UP’s) Muzaffarnagar to challenge the BJP governments in UP and Uttarakhand, where assembly elections are expected to be held next year. According to reports, September 5 saw the biggest rally since agitation against the three controversial farm laws introduced by the Narendra Modi-led NDA government began on the Delhi, Haryana and UP borders last year. The local police said that more than 50,00,000 farmers from at least 15 states such as Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Telangana, Karnataka among others, arrived at the ‘Kisan Mahapanchayat’ rally at the GIC ground in Muzaffarnagar. The rally was called by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) – an umbrella body of 40 farmers’ groups.
Key points of the Muzaffarnagar Kisan Mahapanchayat
No Ghar Wapsi Until Farm Laws Are Suspended: Tikait
The top leader of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), Rakesh Tikait warned the central government that similar protests will take place all over the country in the coming days, and that there will be no “ghar wapsi” until the three farm laws are not repealed. Addressing a mega rally with dozens of farmer leaders, Tikait said that starting September 5, “Mission UP” and “Mission Country” will begin to make people aware that the Modi government is an “anti-farmer government”.
Declaring countrywide protests, Tikait said that a revolution is the only way to save this country.
“India For Sale”: Tiktait’s Dig At The Modi Government
Rakesh Tikait, who has been mobilising farmers across the country over the past nine months against the ruling government, took a dig at the Modi government and said that we have to stop the country from getting sold. Criticising government policies, Tikait said, “India is for sale, this is the government’s policy.”
During his speech, Tikait accused the central government of having “cheated the people of the country”. According to him, the government is selling Banks, LIC, farmlands, railways, power, and highways to industrialists like Ambani and Adani. He explained to the protesters that not only farmers, but businesses, employees, and youths also need to be saved from the current government.
BJP Terms Farmer Rally An “Election Meeting”
The BJP termed Sunday’s Kisan Mahapanchayat rally an “election meeting”. The party has accused the farmer leaders of using the farmers to engage in politics. Rajkumar Chahar, head of the BJP Kisan Morcha, said that the Mahapanchayat leaders have no concern for the farmers of the country. According to him, the political parties and farmer leaders gathered at the GIC ground for the sake of their political agenda.
Meanwhile, some BJP leaders including Varun Gandhi, Lok Sabha member from UP’s Pilibhit constitutency, came out in support of the ongoing farmer protest. Urging the BJP government for re-engagement with the farmers he said that their demand should be taken into consideration.
“Lakhs of farmers have gathered in protest today, in Muzaffarnagar. They are our own flesh and blood. We need to start re-engaging with them in a respectful manner: understand their pain, their point of view and work with them in reaching common ground,” Gandhi said following the Muzzafarnagar rally.
Farm Union Calls For Bharat Bandh On September 27
The Samyukt Kisan Morcha has called for a Bharat Bandh on September 27 to protest against the three farm laws. Many opposition parties, including the Left, have already extended their support to the Bharat Bandh. Earlier the farmers’ unions had called for a complete Bharat Bandh on September 25.
Eye On UP Elections
BKU President Balbir Singh Rajewal, while addressing the people, said that this rally is a clear warning for the BJP and Prime Minister Modi to either repeal the farm laws or get ready for defeat in the upcoming elections. He warned that farmers, during the UP assembly election, will “vote par chot” (hit the vote), just like they did in West Bengal elections. He said that UP has over 8 crore farmers who will show their power. “They will defeat Yogi Adityanath government in the assembly election,” Rajewal said.
No opposition political parties were seen on the stage during the mega rally, but it was reported that the Rashtriya Lok Dal and the Samajwadi Party were supporting the protest and offering logistical supports.
According to farmer leaders, similar Kisan Mahapanchayats will take place in Lucknow, Jaipur, and other parts of the country in the coming weeks. One of them is set to take place in Karnal, Haryana today. Police forces have been alerted in preparation for it, and internet and SMS services have been suspended in Kurukshetra, Kaithal, Jind, and Panipat to avoid “spread of inflammatory material and rumours”.