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Split in BKU, new outfit leaders say will be ‘apolitical’

Announcing the new outfit at Ganna Sansthan in Lucknow on the death anniversary of BKU founder Chaudhary Mahendra Singh Tikait, the leaders of BKU (Apolitical) alleged that they were upset with the “political” statements made by BKU spokesperson Rakesh Tikait during the farm law protests

Rakesh Tikait, Chhattisgarh, Chhattisgarh government, land acquisition, Bharatiya Kisan Union, Indian Express, India news, current affairs, Indian Express News Service, Express News Service, Express News, Indian Express India NewsBharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait (File)

The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), which had spearheaded the 13-month-long farmers’ protest against the Centre’s three farm laws, on Sunday witnessed a split as a section of its leaders formed a separate outfit – BKU (Apolitical), led by Rajesh Singh Chauhan. The BKU, later, said that it has dismissed seven leaders of its outfit, calling them “anti-farmers”.

Announcing the new outfit at Ganna Sansthan in Lucknow on the death anniversary of BKU founder Chaudhary Mahendra Singh Tikait, the leaders of BKU (Apolitical) alleged that they were upset with the “political” statements made by BKU spokesperson Rakesh Tikait during the farm law protests and the recent Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.

“BKU (Apolitical) has been formed because of the disagreements with BKU… Mahendra Singh Tikait was of the view that when we go to the government with 10 demands and even if four of them are accepted, the agitation should be withdrawn. But what is the situation today? The agitation continued for 13 months (against the three farm laws) and the laws were repealed after that. And yet people are not satisfied. It is a big issue,” Harinam Singh, the UP chief of the newly formed outfit, said.

Mahendra Singh Tikait had founded BKU in 1986. After his death in 2011, his sons – Naresh Tikait and Rakesh Tikait – led the outfit. While Naresh is the BKU president, Rakesh is the outfit’s spokesperson. During the 13-month long agitation against three farm laws—which were later withdrawn by Narendra Modi government – Rakesh Tikait had emerged as the face of the farmers’ movement across the country.

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A couple of days ago, Rakesh Tikait had met the rebel leaders in Lucknow and tried to convince them to stay with the BKU.

“But no consensus was achieved in the meeting. Our outfit is completely apolitical so that we can speak with every government on farmers’ issues.

There will be no political activities and remarks from our new outfit… The BKU formed by Mahendra Singh Tikait is no more apolitical,” BKU (Apolitical) national spokesperson Dharmendra Mallik said.

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Later in the evening, BKU said that it has dismissed seven leaders from the outfit, accusing them of indulging in fake propaganda against the organisation.

In a statement issued by BKU national general secretary Yudhveer Singh, the outfit said that seven leaders, including Rajesh Singh Chauhan, Anil Talan, Harinam Verma, Dharmendra Mallik (all office bearers in the new outfit), have been dismissed from the organisation.

Rakesh Tikait, in a tweet, said that the seven dismissed leaders were “hurting” the interests of farmers by forming a separate outfit.

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“The new outfit has been formed under the pressure of the BJP government. BKU will not be weakened by it. Instead, it will become stronger and the movement will continue,” Rakesh Tikait said.

First published on: 15-05-2022 at 08:38:26 pm
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