Lucknow: Farmers associated with the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) are gearing up to hold a tractor march on January 26 in western Uttar Pradesh over multiple issues that remain even after the three contentious farm laws were withdrawn.
Two major demands of the farmers concern the forming of the committee on the issue of minimum support price (MSP) and withdrawal of the many first information reports (FIR) lodged against the protesters. None of these two demands have been fulfilled by the government yet even though, ahead of Uttar Pradesh elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled Centre rolled back the three central farm laws that had sparked the farmers’ protest.
BKU leader Rakesh Tikait said that a proposal for undertaking the tractor march would be put forward in the next meeting of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) scheduled to be held on January 15. He also said that even if the SKM did not pass the resolution, the youths associated with BKU would hold the tractor march in their villages and neighbouring towns. He said the youths of western UP had already started making preparations for the march.
Tikait, the national spokesperson of BKU, further said, “Farmers are doubting the government’s intention because even after a month of withdrawing the three contentious farm laws, the central government has not moved further on forming a committee for MSP. Secondly, the cases registered against the farmers have not been taken back. Last but not least, the process for compensation to be given to the farmers who died during the agitation has not been initiated. Therefore, we have decided to organise the tractor march in villages and district levels on January 26. Moreover, it is the demand of youths from villages that a resolution should be passed in the SKM meeting for undertaking a tractor march.”
When questioned how the tractor march will take place, he said, “Farmers from one village to another, holding tricolour and play cards on their tractor, will raise their key demands.”
He further said, “The focus of the government is on the land of the farmers. There is a need to be aware of this. The next attack of the government is on those landless farmers who make a living by rearing cattle and selling milk.”
All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) UP general secretary Mukut Singh said that on the MSP guarantee, the Centre had reiterated the Prime Minister’s promise of a committee saying the panel would discuss ways of ensuring MSP and would have SKM representatives among farmers apart from representatives of the Centre, states and agricultural scientists and economists. “But it seems it was merely was an ‘announcement’,” he said,
Meanwhile, on a call given by Rakesh Tikait, the workers of the farmers union were seen active in Meerut, Bijnor and Muzaffarnagar, the hometown of Tikait, and holding meetings to make the tractor march successful.
Rajendra Singh, BKU leader from Bijnor, said the farmers' movement was not over yet. He, along with the workers, had started contacting the farmers for preparation. “Till now the workers have been trained for 13 months. There is a huge flaw in the intention of the government. Therefore, on January 26, it was announced from the high command level to take out the tractor march in villages. Our demands is -- sack MoS Home, Ajay Mishra Teni, withdraw the criminal cases against farmers in Haryana, Delhi and UP, give compensation for the kin of 700 Farmers who died, and a committee on MSP and a quick decision," he said.
He went on to ask, “The election is round the corner and the same legislators will visit them to seek their vote but how will they face the farmers then?” Singh added, “The farmers not only vote against BJP but also boycott their rallies in the villages. They have betrayed farmers by making false promises and they will have to pay the price for it.”