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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

‘Don’t vote for BJP, they have robbed the country’: Farmer leader Rakesh Tikait in poll-bound Bengal

Elections to the 294-member assembly, poised to be a stiff contest between the TMC and the BJP, will be held in eight phases from March 27 to April 29.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: March 13, 2021 10:48:43 pm
Rakesh Tikait, West Bengal Assembly Elections 2021Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait addressing a mahapanchayat (public gathering) in Kolkata. (Photo: Twitter/@RakeshTikaitBKU)

Farmer leader Rakesh Tikait held mahapanchayats (public meetings) on Saturday in Kolkata and at Nandigram and urged people not to vote for the BJP in the upcoming Assembly elections in West Bengal.

Tikait, who is spearheading the farmers’ agitation against the Centre’s contentious agriculture laws, was received at the airport by TMC MP Dola Sen, addressed gatherings of farmers in the city and at Nandigram in East Midnapore district along with social activist Medha Patkar.

Alleging that the BJP-led government at the Centre is intent on breaking the backbone of the farmers and their movement, Tikait said it is “anti-people”. “Don’t vote for BJP. If voted to power they will give away your land to big corporates and industries and make you landless. They will hand over the country to big industrialist groups putting your livelihood at stake and in danger,” he said.

Further, warning of a second tractor parade in Delhi, Tikait said in Nandigram that the next target will be to sell crops at the Parliament. He said the day the Samyukta Kisan Morcha decides, a new mandi will be opened at the Parliament.

“The day Samyukta Morcha decides, a new mandi will be opened at Parliament. Tractors will again enter Delhi. We have 3.5 lakh tractors and 25 lakhs farmers. The next target will be to sell crops at the Parliament,” Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait was quoted as saying by ANI.

Appealing to the people of Bengal to save the state, he asked them not to vote for the BJP as the “Central government has robbed the country”.

Calling the BJP “a party of cheats” which hides its sympathy for the rich, Tikait said “We will be on the side of those who oppose BJP, those who will stand by the farmers and the poor.”

Clarifying that the Krishak Mahapanchayat in Bengal is not meant to pledge support to any particular non-BJP party in the state, the Bharatiya Kisan Union chief said “I am not here to seek votes for a particular party. We are here to issue an emphatic appeal to start the battle against BJP on behalf of the farmers in Bengal.”

Referring to Nandigram, he said the land of farmers’ agitation will give new direction to the movement against the farm bills.

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of over 40 farmers’ unions, on Friday had also urged farmers and other people of West Bengal to not vote for the BJP.

The SKM said that electoral defeat will force the BJP-led government at the Centre to repeal the three farm laws. SKM leader Yogendra Yadav had told reporters that they were not supporting any party or telling people whom to vote for but that their only appeal is that the BJP should be taught a lesson.

Tikait had earlier said he would visit Kolkata to urge farmers to defeat the BJP in the upcoming elections but claimed that he is not supporting any political party.

Elections to the 294-member assembly, poised to be a stiff contest between the TMC and the BJP, will be held in eight phases from March 27 to April 29. The results will be declared on May 2. Nandigram will witness a high-stake battle in the upcoming election with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee taking on her former protege Adhikari, who recently defected to the BJP two months ago.

With PTI inputs

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