Despite limited presence of farm unions in the state, Haryana has seen a surge in participation of local farmers in the protest. It is after several years that the state has seen such a farmer agitation where the common man has been leading the charge. The Indian Express looks at the khap bodies and farm outfits that have become the rallying point for protesters in the state.
Gurnam Singh Chaduni led Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) is not affiliated to any political party. The farmers had fielded Chaduni as an Independent candidate from Ladwa constituency in 2019 Assembly elections but he could get just 1,307 votes. However, Chaduni has led many successful agitations not only during the current BJP regime but during previous Hooda government too. Among the farmers, Chaduni is known as an “articulate, intelligent and courageous leader” who knows how to mobilise support for a particular cause and how to force the authorities to listen to grievances of the agitators. In Haryana, first of all, this faction of BKU had launched a sustained campaign against three controversial farm laws by holding a tractor march with 15,000 tractor-trolleys in July this year. During the “Delhi Chalo” call too, the farmers led by these union leaders had broken police barricades despite stiff resistance by the cops on Ambala-Delhi national highway on November 25. It’s believed that this act had boosted morale of protesting farmers across Haryana and Punjab. However, the police had booked agitating farmers, including Chaduni, under criminal charges including attempt to murder with the police accusing them “for attempting to run over the policemen with speedy tractor-trolleys”. Currently, main leaders of BKU are camping at Delhi border but now its followers are mobilising others to join the agitation.
The khap panchayats are social bodies which are mainly active in the Jat dominated areas. Many khap leaders have political affiliations too. But now most of the khap panchayats have backed the farmers by sending tractor-trolleys to Delhi borders. Some of the khap leaders who belong to BJP too have joined the farmers’ agitation like Tek Ram Kandela of Kandela khap from Jind district. Likewise, a woman khap leader Santosh Dahiya, who had contested 2019 Assembly election as JJP candidate from Ladwa constituency, has joined farmers at Delhi borders. She is even mobilising women in support of the agitators.
Jai Kisan Andolan
‘Jai Kisan Andolan’ is a movement launched by activist Yogendra Yadav, who belongs to Rewari district of Haryana. Yadav is a former leader of Aam Aadmi Party and had later formed a political outfit Swaraj India which is yet to taste electoral success. It has a team of dedicated volunteers like Rajeev Godara who try to raise issues of farmers intelligently occasionally with supporting documents. Yadav himself has been visiting grain markets of Haryana to garner support among farmers. Now, Yadav is actively participating in the current farmer agitation.
Haryana Kisan Sabha
Haryana Kisan Sabha is affiliated to Left oriented All India Kisan Sabha. It is actively participating in the ongoing farmer agitation. A former employees’ leader Phool Singh Sheokand is president of Haryana Kisan Sabha. The Left parties have hardly any electoral appeal in Haryana. However, Kisan Sabha has activists in many Haryana districts mainly in Jind, Hisar, Bhiwani and Rohtak.
Several factions of BKU
Apart from Chaduni-led BKU, there are several other factions of Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU). Rattan Mann is leading a faction of BKU in Haryana, while Chaudhary Joginder Ghasi Ram Nain is leading another faction of BKU here. Joginder is son of well-known farmer leader of Haryana late Ghasi Ram Nain. A farmer leader from Charkhi Dadri Jagbir Ghasola is also leading a faction of BKU. There are other farmer organisations too in Haryana like Kisan Sanghrash Samiti of Fatehabad and Akhil Bhartiya Swaminathan Sanghrash Samiti of Sirsa. These factions are now part of the ongoing farmer agitation. It’s said in Haryana that if you are not a member of any kisan union, then just take a flag of BKU and just join the agitation of farmers.
Common man’s participation
The main support for the agitation, meanwhile, is coming from the “aam aadmi” in Haryana with a sense among farmers that corporates will eat out their agricultural land sooner or later. This time, youth especially from the farming community have participated in the agitation very enthusiastically. As many as 600 tractor-trolleys came from Safidon and Pillu Khera area of Jind district to join a protest in Jind town on Monday. Without significant presence of any farmer organisation in the area, the farmers started gathering near the Women Police Station of Jind. By 1 pm, there were around 5,000 protesters who had come in around 1,000 vehicles. Further, the political leaders are not being allowed to take mileage of the ongoing farmer agitation. Senior Congress Randeep Singh Surjewala was jeered at when he had gone to join a protest during Bharat Bandh on December 8. Mainstream political parties too have their farmer wings, but their presence is not visible in the agitation.