Lucknow: Unlike most other days, the morning of July 22 was a busy day for Dushyant Rana, a farmer from Dhampur of Bijnor district in Western Uttar Pradesh, as he geared up for a ‘Tractor March’ to be taken out on the call given by the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) in support of the eight-month-long farmers’ protest against the three farm laws.
Rana hoisted a BKU flag on his tractor, filled the fuel tank with diesel and checked the music system installed on the tractor in preparation of participation in the first cavalcade of 200 tractors that will leave for Ghazipur border, where farmers have been camping for over eight months. He also helped his fellow farmers after finishing his preparations.
“Farmers, especially the youngsters, are enthusiastic about the tractor march and are also ready to lead it from the front. As the march will start at 10 a.m., we have tied flags on tractors and filled the tanks today itself, so as to save time on the D day. Even ration and other essential commodities have already been loaded on the tractor and checked twice,” Dushyant told NewsClick.
He added that the series of tractor marches began last month from west Uttar Pradesh and this is third such march being organised by BKU - Tikait group. According to him, the farmers’ protest at the border of the national capital has created a revolution and keeps motivating more farmers to join the stir. “This is a clear warning to the central government that unless the three agri laws and draft Electricity Bill are withdrawn, the movement will continue. This tractor march is only a rehearsal. We are preparing for protests across the state, in every district,” he added.
Like Dushyant, other farmers, too, are excited about the tractor march and have been discussing actively about it.
“There will be around 200 tractors when we flag off the march from Dhampur’s Numaish ground. But as soon as we leave the city, it won’t be an exaggeration to say that there would be thousands of farmers and vehicles joining our caravan,” Sardar Mukhtiyar Singh, a farmer leader from Bijnor, said.
Also read: 'Time to Reclaim Ghazipur Border': Thousands of Farmers Begin Tractor March from West UP
Over a dozen farmers from Bijnor claimed that even though their tractors had developed technical problems, they have repaired it in time to ensure their participation in the tractor march on Saturday.
Gaurav Tikait, state president, BKU leader and son of Rakesh Tikait, who is on a mission to persuade farmers in rural areas to join stir on border, said he visited almost 10 villages within a span of six hours including Nawabpura, Katarmal, Rasoolpur, Murliwala, Turatpur and Kadrabad to meet small farmers. “Protesting farmers at the border of Delhi have made an impact in rural areas and rural farmers are now aware of the loss they may be facing if the farm laws are not withdrawn. Earlier, there was a lack of awareness among farmers. We just need to create awareness and they too like farmers in Haryana and Punjab will join the struggle,” Tikait claimed.
He said that the tractor march will begin from Bijnor on July 24 and reach Ghazipur border on July 25 after a night’s halt at Shivoy toll plaza in Meerut where farmers have been protesting for the last two months.
Meanwhile, the police have beefed up security arrangements on the route of the tractor march to avert any untoward incident.
Earlier on June 24, around 200 tractors had began the first march from Saharanpur, following a call by BKU leader Rakesh Tikait for a “tractor revolution”. A huge number of farmers from adjoining districts - Muzaffarnagar and Meerut with their tractors and vehicles joined them on the way. The caravan reached the Ghazipur border the next day.
The second such cavalcade of tractors began a march from Shamli region, with nearly 200 tractors along with thousands of farmers on July 9 to strengthen the movement. Farmers overpowered staff at several toll plazas, allowing toll-free movement of all vehicles.
According to Dharmendra Malik, BKU’s media-in charge, the magnitude of participation of farmers in tractor march from west Uttar Pradesh has forced the ruling BJP government to take the decision of not stopping the farmers marching towards the border of Delhi.