Tikait Holds Show Of Strength, Warns Centre Of ‘Gaddi Wapsi’

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Bharatiya Kisan Union Spokesperson Rakesh Tikait addresses during Kisan Mahapanchayat against the new farm laws, in Jind district, Wednesday- PTI

Jind (Haryana): In a show of strength by protesting farmers, Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait on Wednesday addressed a massive rally and warned the government it could find it difficult to stay on in power if the new agri-marketing laws are not repealed.

Just before Tikait was to begin his speech at the ”mahapanchayat” in Kandela village, the makeshift stage on which the farmer leaders had gathered collapsed under their weight.

Nobody was reported hurt and Tikait went on to address the gathering. But the episode triggered a commotion and he and the event organisers had to repeatedly tell people to maintain calm.

Calling for a wapsi (withdrawal) of the new central laws, Tikait indirectly warned the Narendra Modi government that it could lose its gaddi (power) if the agitation continues.

We have so far talked about “bill wapsi” (repealing the farm laws). The government should listen carefully. What will you do if the youth call for gaddi wapsi (removal from power)? he said.

He asked the Centre to repeal the three laws and frame a new one to assure continuation of the minimum support price (MSP) system.

The BKU leader from Uttar Pradesh has been camping at Ghazipur on the Delhi-UP border as part of a campaign by farmer unions against the central laws enacted in September.

Farmers, mainly from Punjab and Haryana, are also massed at Tikri and Singhu on the Delhi-Haryana border for two months.

After violence on Republic Day, police barricaded these protest sites with cement barriers and spikes on the roads leading to them.

Criticising the restrictions, Tikait said, When the king is scared, he secures the fortress.

He suggested that he would lay down on the nails embedded on the roads there so that others can cross them by stepping on him.

He said the Centre must talk with the farmer unions spearheading the agitation.

The ”mahapanchayat” was attended by Haryana BKU chief Gurnam Singh Chaduni and BKU leader from Punjab, Balbir Singh Rajewal. Over 50 khap” leaders were also present.

Last week, a large number of farmers participated in a mahapanchayat in UP’s Muzaffarnagar in support of the BKU-led protest at Ghazipur.

Jind is often considered part of Haryana’s political heartland and the ”mahapanchayat” was meant to muster support for the farmers’ agitation. It was organised by Sarva Jatiya Kandela Khap headed by Tekram Kandela.

Five resolutions were passed at the mahapanchayat . These urged the government to repeal the new laws, give a legal guarantee on the MSP, implement the Swaminathan Commission report, waive farm loans and release farmers arrested after the events in Delhi on January 26.

Tikait said the campaign against the farm laws was going strong. The way we are getting support from khap panchayats, we will win this fight.

He urged everyone involved, particularly the youth, to keep protesting in a peaceful manner and assured victory will be theirs.

He underlined the role played by farmers and their unions from Punjab. We need their help. Haryana and Uttar Pradesh will back them. We will maintain the prestige of the farmer’s turban, he said.

Seeking to project unity among the farmer unions, Tikait referred to BKU (Rajewal) chief Balbir Singh Rajewal as our leader .

Tikait, whose show of emotion recently appeared to have helped revive the farmers’ agitation after the violence on Republic Day, said there are 40 unions spearheading the protest and decisions will be taken collectively.

Rajewal accused the Modi government of behaving with farmers in a manner that no other government in the world would.

The Centre brought laws which will destroy farmers and this country. We began this agitation several months back in Punjab, it has now spread to the entire country, he told the mahapanchayat .

On the new police barricades, Rajewal said the government has turned protest sites into a kind of open jails .

Khap leader Kandela said the prime minister and the Union home minister should talk directly with the protesting farmers.

LS Adjourned Twice As Oppn Protests

Lok Sabha proceedings were adjourned twice on Wednesday as the protesting opposition members demanded a separate discussion on the farm laws issue.

As soon as the House met at 4pm, Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury tried to raise the issue of farmers’ agitation, saying that the matter is maligning the image of the country.

“We are concerned,” he said.

Urging members to return to their seats, Speaker Om Birla said they should maintain the dignity of the House or else he will have to take disciplinary actions against those who violate norms.

He said the Question Hour is important and it should go on.

But opposition members refused to relent, forcing him to adjourn the proceedings till 4.30pm.

Following the first adjournment when the house reassembled at 4:30pm, Chowdhury demanded that there should be a separate discussion on the Presidential address and the farmers’ issue.

The Speaker said the members should maintain the dignity of the House and return to the seats. He said that sufficient time and opportunity would be given to them to express their views.

Birla urged AAP leader Bhagwant Mann to go to his seat if he wanted a discussion and warned him of action.

But the opposition members refused to relent forcing him to adjourn the proceedings again till 5pm.

Several farmer unions have been staging protests at various border points of Delhi since late November demanding the repeal of the farm laws.

Members of the Congress, DMK, Trinamool, and Bhagwant Mann of the AAP were at the forefront of raising slogans against the farm laws and the treatment meted out to the protesting farmers.

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