Rakesh Tikait, leader of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), said on 4th July that the Union government should not impose conditions if it wants to resume negotiations with the protesting farmers.
His comments come after Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar stated that the three new central agriculture laws would bring transformative changes in the lives of farmers and stated that the government was willing to hold talks with protestors, except on the demand that these laws be repealed.
‘We have previously stated that we are prepared to hold talks anytime the government is. But why are they making it conditional by stating that they would not repeal agriculture Laws?’ Tikait told Rohtak reporters.
He said that the national govt was acting under business pressure. ‘They (the Centre) would have talked to farmers, he claimed, but they are ruled by corporates.’
Earlier, the farmer leader spoke at a ‘Pink dharna’ held by women activists in Rohtak in support of the farmers’ protest against agricultural laws.
A mahapanchayat of farmers was also held in adjacent Uchana, Jind district when nine resolutions were ratified. Azad Palwa, a leader of the Jind BKU, told reporters that the mahapanchayat has decided to boycott BJP-JJP-backed candidates in Haryana’s upcoming panchayat elections.
He stated that if the government does not remove the farm laws, the BJP and Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) candidates will face a boycott of the assembly and parliamentary elections. Tikait commented on the ‘Pink-Mahila Kisan Dharna,’ saying, ‘Such a dharna by women activists is doable in Haryana, where women have also been at the frontline of this (farmers’) protest.’
He described the current uproar as a ‘revolution of ideas.’ He went on to say that despite farmers’ protests against the ‘black farm regulations’ for months, the government has remained unmoved.
‘There is an unannounced emergency in the country, and the people of this country must rise,’ he stated. Tikait claimed that if the agricultural regulations are enforced, farmers will be compelled to work in low-wage occupations because their land will be ‘snatched’ by large corporations.
Meanwhile, during the mahapanchayat, Palwa stated its opposition to the Haryana Recovery of Property Damages During Disturbance to Public Order Bill, 2021.
The state assembly enacted a bill in March that empowers authorities to recoup compensation from aggressive protestors who cause property damage.
According to the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader, the Bill was intended to be used by the government against the farmers’ movement. The mahapanchayat demanded that the ‘black farm laws’ be repealed, that the government draught a law guaranteeing crop Minimum Support Price (MSP), that government jobs and ₹ 50 lakh compensation be provided to the next of kin of farmers who died during the ongoing agitation, and that all types of loans for farmers and farm labourers be waived.
At the mahapanchayat, resolutions on women’s security, power, and ensuring young employment were also enacted.
Palwa later told reporters in Uchana that two major figures, Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala and BJP MP Brijendra Singh, ‘are not standing in favour of farmers in their fight against agricultural laws’
‘We want to send a message to them through this mahapanchayat that they were elected because of the backing of farmers and labourers. They have the power to remove these leaders as well, using the same vote’ He stated.
Palwa also claimed that Chautala, the great-grandson of late deputy prime minister Devi Lal, who was regarded as a ‘messiah of farmers,’ was not standing with the farmers and was clinging to power.
‘It was Chaudhary Devi Lal who gave up power for the benefit of farmers, whereas Dushyant is unconcerned about farmers because he does not want to give up power,’ he claimed.