Farmers Protest Showcasing Mutual Power


Amritsar: Farmers burn an effigy with pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani and Adani Group Chairman Gautam Adani during their protest against the Central Government’s new farm laws, in Amritsar on Dec 5, 2020. (Photo: IANS)

Navneet Mishra

NEW DELHI — The farmers’ agitation along the borders of Delhi which has entered its 11th day on Sunday, apart from demanding the withdrawal of the newly passed farm laws by the Central government, has also become a platform to demonstrate the cohesive unity and power of farmers’ organisation.

The organisations, divided into several groups are also considering the movement a window to increase their influence among the farmers by being more vocal than each other.

Even as the leaders of all organisations hold unanimous views about the abolition of the three laws, yet there are differences in demands. Some are talking about relaxations on stubble burning penalties, while others are raising their voice on the electricity and loans from the bank.

While farmers of Punjab and Haryana are carrying out the agitation on the Singhu border through 32 major organisations, the farmers’ movement in western Uttar Pradesh is going on mainly through the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU).

However, the BKU is also currently divided into five major factions. During the last ten days of the agitation on the Delhi-Ghazipur border, different factions of the BKU were seen.

On one side is the main group of the BKU of Mahendra Singh Tikait. At the same time, some farmers have gathered under the leadership of Rakesh Tikait. Besides, farmers have also assembled to protest the new agri laws under the banner of Bharatiya Kisan Union (apolitical) which is headed by Sunil Chaudhary.

“As long as Mahendra Singh Tikait was alive there was only one ‘Kisan Union’. Different factions were formed over ideologies. It cannot be denied that our strength has been weakened earlier due to the division of BKU into several factions,” Chaudhary told IANS.

How will there be mutual agreement on the demands due to several factions?

Replying to this, he said: “Rakesh Tikait is leading the movement on the Ghazipur-Delhi border. We are also accepting his leadership. Since the movement is big, we stand together, forgetting all the grievances. ”

Chaudhary Mahendra Singh Tikait, who laid the foundation of the BKU in western Uttar Pradesh, is reverred as Baba Tikait by his followers.

Tikait, the second-most prominent farmer leader after Chaudhary Charan Singh, died in 2011.

On his appeal, on October 25, 1988, millions of farmers gathered at Delhi’s Boat Club for seven days.

Tikait had then forced the Central government to bow down to the 35-point demands of reducing the support price of cane, electricity and water. As long as he was alive, the BKU was known only as a “purely peasants’ organisation”.

After after his death, the political ambitions of the leaders associated with the organisation significantly affected its image. Political ambitions are said to be the reason behind the splitting of several factions of the farmers’ union. IANS

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