National highways leading to Delhi were packed with vehicles on Monday. Till late Sunday night, there was a heavy rush on NH-44 with hundreds of tractors, bikes, jeeps, trucks, buses and cars heading towards the national capital, with revolutionary songs blaring every few steps and protesters declaring that they were ready for “a long battle to save their land from corporates”.
Along the 178-km stretch of the national highway from Ambala to Kundli border, several cultural programmes were held by the roadside to encourage farmers. From local towns and villages, groups of youth carrying flags were seen welcoming those coming to Delhi. Langars were set up every 5 km to offer tea and snacks.
Ambala BKU president Malkit Singh said, “I have been working for the BKU for the past 20 years but I never saw such enthusiasm for an agitation. It has become a mass movement, with every section of society coming out to support farmers. I believe that from each of Haryana’s 7,000 villages, at least a few vehicles have moved to Delhi to join the tractor parade.”
Several young men from Haryana and Punjab, carrying the Tricolour and flags of farm unions on the vehicles, were also heading to the rally.
Tarwinder Singh (26), a resident of Changera village in Punjab’s Patiala district, who is pursuing his graduation from a private university, was one among 13 youths in a tractor-trolley: “We were looking after our agricultural fields as our elders have been camping at Delhi’s borders for the past two months. Now, we too are moving to support them. We don’t know when we will return.” Ranjot Singh (21), who is pursuing his MBA through a correspondence programme from a technical university in Punjab, said: “Land given by our ancestors is everything for us, it’s not a business.”
NH-9, which connects Hisar to Delhi, also saw a rush, with several farmers carrying food items in their tractor trolleys for a long stay at the protest sites.
Harjinder Singh, a former sarpanch from Piruwala village in Haryana’s Yamunanagar district, said, “I fail to understand why the government is not repealing the laws.”
Roopinder Singh from Rajpura town in Punjab chimed in: “I work for a private firm but I’m going to support the farmers. There is no doubt that prices of food items will be raised after amendments in the Essential Commodities Act.”