Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait on Friday said that farmers were ready to sacrifice one crop but will not let the agitation against the farm laws weaken, reported ANI.
“If the government is not waking up then we can not do anything, but we are not going anywhere,” Tikait said. “Farmers have been indulging in the farming of loss for the last 70 years. If they have to sacrifice one more crop, they are ready. Even if they have to take the help of more workers to harvest crops, they will do it. They will keep crops at their home but agitation will not be weakened.”
The farmer leader said that they will install fans and coolers for the upcoming summer season, asking for an electricity connection from the Uttar Pradesh government. “If they don’t agree then we will ask for an electricity connection from the Delhi government,” he said. “And if they refuse too, then we will arrange for generators but not let the movement get affected due to heat in summers.”
When asked about the plan to take the agitation to West Bengal, Tikait said talks were underway to take out a rally in the state. Elections are likely to be held in the state in April-May this year. On Thursday, Tikait had said that they will go to poll-bound Bengal if the Centre did not repeal the legislations. He made the remarks at a kisan mahapanchayat (farmers’ conclave) in Hisar’s Kharak Punia.
Following the Republic Day violence in Delhi, farmers are focusing to get more support from other states through the mahapanchayats to counter the government’s claim that only Punjab farmers were protesting against the laws, according to the Hindustan Times. Many such mahapanchayats have been held in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Punjab.
The farmers’ union chief Naresh Tikait has also asked the farmers not to invite any Bharatiya Janata Party leaders to their homes for any function till the laws are repealed.
Tens of thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at Delhi’s border points for over two months, seeking the withdrawal of agricultural laws passed in September. The protests had largely been peaceful but violence erupted on January 26, when a tractor rally planned to coincide with Republic Day celebrations turned chaotic. More than 100 protestors have been arrested in connection with the violence and several are missing.
The farmers believe that the new laws undermine their livelihood and open the path for the corporate sector to dominate agricultural. The government, on the other hand, maintains that the new laws will give farmers more options in selling their produce, lead to better pricing, and free them from unfair monopolies. The laws are meant to overhaul antiquated procurement procedures and open up the market, the government has claimed.