Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait on Tuesday said that farmers will march to Parliament if the Centre does not repeal the three agricultural laws, PTI. He said the call for the march could be given anytime, and asked the farmers to be prepared.
Tikait made the remark while addressing a “kisan mahapanchayat” or farmers’ conclave in Rajasthan’s Sikar district. More than 20,000 farmers attended the conclave, according to The Caravan.
“This time the call will be for Parliament gherao,” Tikait said at the conclave, according to PTI. “We will announce it and then march towards Delhi. This time 40 lakh tractors will be there instead of four lakh tractors.” The Bharatiya Kisan Union leader said that the farmers will plough the parks near India Gate and grow crops there.
Tikait added that the date of the farmers’ Parliament march will be decided by leaders of the United Front.
The Bharatiya Kisan Union leader said that the farmers will demolish warehouses belonging to big corporations if the government does not meet their demands.
He added that there was a “conspiracy” to malign the farmers on the day of their massive tractor rally in Delhi on January 26. He said the farmers loved the national flag, but the government did not.
Tikait said that all farmers were united in their struggle. “Rajasthan has different caste equations but in order to succeed they have to give birth to a new caste that is farmers,” he was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times. “During every farmers’ meeting we should not talk about two things – one is politics and another is caste. All the farmers are one and united.”
The farmer leader added that everyone should be associated with the farmers’ movement. “Every youth should connect with us because this is a battle for our land which the government wants to give it to big corporations through contract farming and other modes,” Tikait said. “The market and mandis which were open for everybody will be closed because of the farm laws.”
Tikait declared that the protesting farmers will not back down. “Farmers will continue to fight irrespective of the weather,” he said. “We will fight in the cold and in extreme hot conditions. It will continue unless a new law on MSP [Minimum Support Price] is made and the three farm laws are rolled back.”
Farmers’ unions are organising “mahapanchayats” in several states to mobilise support for the protest. Last week, more than one lakh farmers and workers gathered for a rally in Punjab’s Barnala district in a massive show of strength against the three agricultural laws.
The farmers’ protest
Tens of thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at Delhi’s border points for three months now, seeking the withdrawal of the 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 were 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.