February 23, 2021 10:35:06 pm
After holding a series of farmers’ mahapanchayat in west UP districts, Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) vice-president Jayant Chaudhary on Tuesday held a similar gathering in Basti district in the eastern part of the state against the three new farm laws brought by the Centre.
Speaking at the Kisan panchayat, Chaudhary hit out at the BJP government, saying the meeting was to give a message to the ruling party that farmers will decide the political course of the country.
“This panchayat was called because we have to give a message to the BJP government. The message is that the land here belongs to the farmers. And that the farmers will decide the direction of the politics. The government can’t make decisions without your approval,” the RLD told farmers at the panchayat.
“The farmers have been sitting at the borders of Capital Delhi for the past three months. They have come from Punjab on foot. If they are sitting there, should we close our eyes and sit? The farmers of this country are one. They are the strength of our country. The Central government thinks they can divide the farmers. They are branding farmers from Punjab as Khalistanis. They say the farm laws are an issue for the Sikhs and that they are being funded from outside. They also say that those protesting are not farmers,” he said.
Explaining to the farmers about the controversial farm laws, Chaudhary said, “In places where they are no mandis, the government thinks that they can go and tell farmers that they will benefit (from the new laws) with Ambani and Adani buying your crop from fields. This is how they are trying to dividing farmers.”
The former MP also accused the BJP government of trying to wedge a divide among the farmers on caste lines. “Union Home Minister (Amit Shah) held a meeting recently in Delhi. He called some leaders of a particular caste and scolded them that why can’t they handle some of the farm leaders. Then it was said that the ongoing movement is of the Jat community. So, I thought I should come here. How many Jats are here? Amit Shah ji should come and see,” said Chaudhary, who also hails from the Jat community.
Referring to Monday’s clash between BJP and RLD supporters at a village in Muzaffarnagar, Chaudhary said: “They sent some leaders to Shamli, including an MP from Muzaffarnagar and a former minister. They were sent with a target. They went to Soram village where people raised slogans of farmers’ unity – “Kisan Ekta Zindabad”. This was not liked by the goons who went with their leaders. Why should anyone have an issue with the slogan? They should
be happy that there is unity among farmers. The goons started beating up people and misbehaved with women. They have decided that farmers are not on their side and therefore are attacking you,” said Chaudhary.
“The BJP government does not care about farmers. They only care about their chair. The Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) made an objectionable statement in Parliament… He said those protesting are andolanjeevis. Then, so many people are andolanjeevis. Even Sant Kabirji was. So was Ambedkarji and Mahatma Gandhiji… All of you sitting here should say that you are andolanjeevis. You (PM Modi) are a parijeevi (parasite) of power,” Chaudhary added.
Stating that in 2011, Narendra Modi, then as chief minister of Gujarat, had demanded a guarantee for minimum support prices (MSP) for farmers’ produce, Chaudhary said, “Now, he should listen to what he said while he was in opposition.”
Hitting out at the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh for imposing prohibitory orders, Chaudhary said: “Wherever people want to hold a programme or we want to hold a kisan panchayat, they impose Section 144. If journalists ask questions, cases are slapped against them. Like what has happened in Unnao case (where two Dalit girls were found dead)… is government is of cowards. Their MP and MLAs should resign or ask questions,” the RLD leader said asking policemen not to take order to beat up farmers during protest.
“Since this is a panchayat, some decisions should be taken. My proposal for these decisions is that the farmers who have died during the ongoing movement should be honoured and cases against journalists should be dropped. Another proposal is that one family member from each of the farmer’s family should join the protest. The arrangement for mandis should improve and no purchase should be made below MSP. And last, the way roads were filled with nails to stop farmers from reaching the protest sites, it was disrespect of farmers and the revenge should be taken through votes,” Chaudhary added.
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