Thirty years after Mahendra Singh Tikait, founder of Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU), spearheaded a massive protest by farmers at Boat Club in Delhi in October 1988, his eldest son is now leading another rally to the national capital and indicated that it will be a massive assembly to protest “government indifference”.
Protesting against the alleged apathy of the BJP government towards the farming community, thousands of farmers from across the country will assemble at Kisan Ghat in Delhi on October 2 — the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi — in support of their various demands.
“We have not hit the streets for political gains but to demand our rights. We have not been paid cane dues and the BJP has miserably failed to fulfill its promises made before it came to power four years ago. Our agitation will continue till our 21-point charter of demands is met,” said Naresh, Mahendra Singh Tikait’s eldest son and BKU president.
The Kisan Kranti Yatra, which began from Tikait ghat in Haridwar on September 23, reached Meerut on Saturday. This is the first march taken out by the BKU since the death of its founder on May 15, 2011. The Tikait clan, including the patriarch’s four sons, their wives, grandsons and their children have hit the streets along with others.
The agitators’ list of demands include unconditional loan waiver for farmers. They also said that the government has failed to implement the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission.
“The farmers have to fight for their rights. They will assemble in Delhi on October 2 to stage a massive protest,” said the BKU president. Participants include farmers from Punjab, Haryana and Uttarakhand.
“The indifferent attitude of the government towards the welfare of the farming community has forced many of them to commit suicides. Their widows are now having a tough time raising the families. This is one of the reasons why many women have joined the march,” said Neha Tyagi, chief of the BKU’s women’s wing.
Reacting to the allegations, former BJP state chief Lakshmi Kant Bajpai said, “The governments have done a lot for the welfare of the farmers and we have cleared massive arrears of cane growers in the western region… these gimmicks are being done at the behest of Opposition parties.”