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At protest sites, Tikait draws crowds from near and far

In a protest that began largely with a push by farmers from Punjab, many acknowledge that Tikait has helped mobilise support from Western Uttar Pradesh, which proved crucial in ensuring the stir did not die down after the violence on Republic Day.

Written by Amil Bhatnagar | New Delhi |
February 13, 2021 10:09:51 am
Rakesh Tikait, farmers protest, farm lawsTikait badges being sold at Singhu. (Express photo by Amil Bhatnagar)

Sixty-five-year-old Gurmeet Singh patiently flips through Trolley Times, a newspaper produced by farmers themselves, and finds a full page article based on BKU’s Rakesh Tikait.

“All of us have a lot of respect for him; he single-handedly revived the protest at Ghazipur and presented a firm response to police and administration. This cause is not the kind where you stand down after threats. And he showed it is important to hold your ground,” said Gurmeet, who has come here from Mohali.

A prominent farm leader from Uttar Pradesh, Tikait has found himself thrust into the national limelight ever since a video of him crying went viral, and has since made the most of his newfound fame — arranging rallies not just in Delhi but also in Punjab, Haryana, UP, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.

In a protest that began largely with a push by farmers from Punjab, many acknowledge that Tikait has helped mobilise support from Western Uttar Pradesh, which proved crucial in ensuring the stir did not die down after the violence on Republic Day.

Several parts of Western UP have seen mahapanchayats over the past two weeks, and though the gatherings were called by RLD and Congress, chatter on Tikait’s video was inescapable.

“We have heard of large gatherings in Western UP and Ghazipur also. Many of our brothers have gone to Ghazipur to participate in the protest there. It is only because of him that this has happened,” said Mohit Singh from Amritsar.

Hawkers too have caught on to the trend — at Singhu, many could be seen on Friday selling ‘I love Tikait’ memorabilia alongside badges of farmer unions.

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