Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait on Monday reiterated that the farmers’ protest will continue as there were many demands that had not been resolved yet, reported PTI.
“The government should talk to farmers about the issues related to them or else we are not going to go away,” Tikait said at a kisan mahapanchayat (farmers’ congregation) held in Lucknow.
On November 19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that the three farm laws will be repealed during the Winter Session scheduled to commence on November 29. However, farmers’ unions have said that they will continue to hold agitations at the borders of Delhi till the farm laws are revoked in the Parliament.
They have also said that several other demands are pending, including a law to guarantee minimum support price for crops, withdrawing cases lodged against protestors during the agitation and resignation of Union minister Ajay Mishra, whose son has been arrested for allegedly running over farmers in Uttar Pradesh.
At Monday’s mahapanchayat, Tikait said that Modi should come clear on the farmers’ demand for a law guaranteeing minimum support price for crops.
Tikait said that the Centre’s claims that it had formed a committee on minimum support price was a lie, reported the Hindustan Times.
“A report of a committee in 2011 recommended that the MSP must be guaranteed,” the farmer leader said. “We don’t want another committee. We want you to implement the recommendation of the previous committee.”
He claimed that Modi, during his tenure as chief minister of Gujarat, was part of the committee that had suggested to the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that a law guaranteeing minimum support price was needed.
“They understood in one year that these laws are harmful and took the laws back,” Tikait also said. “They did the right thing by withdrawing the laws but tried to divide farmers by saying that they failed to make some people understand the laws.”
In his November 19 address, Modi had defended the laws saying that the Union government had introduced them with pure intentions but could not explain their importance to a section of farmers.
Meanwhile, Rashtriya Kisan Manch chief Shekhar Dixit claimed that Modi’s announcement about the repeal of farm laws was made “with an eye on the upcoming assembly elections in UP and other states, where the BJP is seeing power slipping away from its hands,” reported India Today.
After Modi’s announcement, the Opposition had also pointed out that it was made ahead of the Assembly elections in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh scheduled for early next year. Farmers from the two states have been at the forefront of the agitation.
Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, have been protesting at Delhi’s border entry points since November 2020, seeking the withdrawal of the farm laws.
They farmers expressed fear that the central government’s new laws would make them vulnerable to corporate exploitation and dismantle the minimum support price regime.
The Centre, however, had claimed that the laws would give farmers more access to markets and boost production through private investment.
In January, nearly two months into the protest movement, the Supreme Court suspended the implementation of the farm laws. It instead set up a committee and tasked it to consult stakeholders and assess the impact of the laws.
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