BKU leader Rakesh Tikait on Monday said that besides the repealing of the three agri laws, there are many issues faced by farmers that need to be resolved as a large number of them gathered in Lucknow for a ‘Kisan Mahapanchayat’ to press for their demands for a legal guarantee for MSP, among other things.
“It seems that after announcing repealing of the three farm laws, the government does not want to speak to the farmers. The government should make it clear that it has repealed the laws in the true sense and talk to us so that we can start moving to our villages,” Tikait told PTI.
The ‘mahapanchayat’ has been called by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of the agitating farmer unions. It was planned months before Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday announced repeal of the contentious agri laws. The SKM, at a meeting in Delhi on Sunday, decided to stick to the date.
The SKM has put forth six demands before the government. Besides the legal guarantee for minimum support price, the farmers are demanding the removal of Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra, whose son is an accused in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence, withdrawal of cases against farmers, building a memorial for the protesters who lost their lives during the agitation and withdrawal of the Electricity Amendment Bill.
The issues of MSP, seeds, dairy and pollution need to be resolved, Tikait said.
More than 750 farmers, mostly from Punjab, died during the protest against the agri laws, he claimed.
SKM leader from Uttarakhand Gurpreet Sukia said farmers from Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand have come to participate in the ‘Kisan Mahapanchayat’.
Shekhar Dixit, president of Rashtriya Kisan Manch, said, “The PM made the announcement about repealing of farm laws with an eye on the upcoming assembly elections in UP and other states, where the BJP is seeing power slipping away from its hands.” Despite the prime minister’s surprise announcement, farmer leaders have maintained the protesters won’t budge until the three contentious laws are formally repealed in Parliament.
Hundreds of protesting farmers have been camping at Delhi’s Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur borders since November 2020.