Purvanchal Farmers to Hold Mahapanchayat in Barabanki Following Successful Mobilisation in West UP
Lucknow: After the massive turnout at the kisan mahapanchayats in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzzaffarnagar, Baghpat, Mathura, and Shamli against the contentious farm laws, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) has now announced to hold its first-ever farmers' mahapanchayat on February 16 in Eastern UP's Barabanki district, also known as Purvanchal — barely 30 km from the state capital.
Thousands of farmers from Lucknow and Ayodhya divisions are expected to gather at Barabanki in a show of strength and demand a total repeal of the three laws.
As per SKM, an umbrella body of 40 farmers’ unions protesting at various borders of Delhi against the three farm laws, a five-member of the committee has been formed for the mahapanchayat in Barabanki. Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) state vice-president Harinam Singh Verma and other BKU members including Ram Kishor Verma, Uttam Patel and Rambaran Verma have been given the responsibility to mobilise farmers of the region and organise a peaceful farmers’ congregation.
BKU president Naresh Tikait and his son Gaurav Tikait (national president of BKU’s youth wing) are also expected to join the mahapanchayat.
Harinam Singh Verma told NewsClick that he was confident the mahapanchayat in Barabanki would draw large crowds even though farmers in Purvanchal, being hit by agrarian crises, have limited resources in comparison to their western UP counterparts.
"This is the biggest revolution in India since Independence and unfortunately for the last 70 years, farmers of this country have been forced to keep demanding for guaranteed Minimum Support Price (MSP) for their crops but it has not been fulfilled yet. The procurement of crops at MSP has always been a major issue for farmers in Purvanchal. It was a major demand of Samyukt Kisan Morcha, too. Therefore, farmers of Eastern UP have decided to step out in large numbers and join the movement.” Verma told NewsClick, adding that the ruling BJP which is in power because of the farmers’ vote will lose the elections if it does accept the demand of the farmers.
Verma also slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his 'andolan jeevi' remarks and said that BKU has always raised its voice against agrarian crisis, and if that is wrong, then they were proud to be 'andolan jeevi'.
Highlighting that the SKM’s call for a protest at the Raj Bhavan in Lucknow on January 23 saw an overwhelming response with the participation of around 600 tractors at a short notice of four days, Verma added, “This shows that the people are annoyed and they would show their strength through the maha panchayats in Purvanchal.”
On being asked what would be the strategy if the government or district administration prevents them from organising the mahapanchayat, he said, "People were executed in British India by hanging for demanding independence, but they continued their struggle. So FIRs, notices and legal threat can not deter them from protesting for their rights.”
Meanwhile, Digamber Singh, BKU’s youth wing state president, who kicked off the first mahapanchayat on January 29 in Muzzaffarnagar under the supervision of outfit president Naresh Tikait said that the farmer leaders of Purvanchal regions are requesting to hold mahapanchayats in their regions after successful mobilisation of farmers for the Raj Bhavan ‘gherao’ programme on January 23 and multiple mahapanchayats in West UP.
“After continuous demands, this was discussed in meetings of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha and we decided that we should have such ‘mahapanchayats’ across Uttar Pradesh against the three farm laws,” Singh told NewsClick.
He further said that it's necessary to organise such congregations in Eastern UP so that government's "misconception" that only the farmers of Punjab and Haryana are in this "battle" will be dispelled and asserted that now the Yogi Adityanath-led government will witness a massive gathering of farmers in every scheduled mahapanchayat in Purvanchal.
Meanwhile, after Barabanki, mahapanchayats will be held in Prayagraj, the Chief Minister’ bastion Gorakhpur, Basti, Fatehpur and Mirzapur.
The farmer leaders in Uttar Pradesh are seeing these back to back mahapanchayats as the revival of the farmers' protest which came under scanner after Republic Day violence. “Let the mahapanchayat begin in Purvanchal once, we will create history and we will not be silent until the government rolls back the three laws,” Harbali Yadav, a farmer from Lucknow told NewsClick.
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