When people gather in crowds, they can change governments: Rakesh Tikait

Addressing a Kisan Mahapanchayat at Kharkhoda town of Haryana's Sonipat district, Tikait said the farmers' agitation will continue till the time the Centre accepts their demands of repealing the legislations.

A day after Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said that “mere gathering of crowd does not lead to revocation of legislations”, farmer leader Rakesh Tikait hit back stating “when people gather, governments get changed.”

The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader, who is largely credited with reviving the agitation at the Delhi borders against the agri laws post the Republic Day violence during a tractor rally, also warned that the government could find it difficult to stay in power if the new agri-marketing laws are not repealed.

Mantri kahte hain ki bheed jutane se kanoon nahi badale jaate. Inki buddhi bhrast ho gayee. Bheed jutne se sarkaren badalti hain. (The minister says the laws are not repealed by gathering crowds. They have lost their mind. When people gather in crowds, they can change governments),” Tikait said.

Addressing a Kisan Mahapanchayat at Kharkhoda town of Haryana’s Sonipat district, Tikait said the farmers’ agitation will continue till the time the Centre accepts their demands of repealing the legislations. “They (the government) should know if farmers can destroy their own produce, then you are nothing before them,” Tikait said.

On Sunday, Union agriculture minister Tomar had in Gwalior said the Centre was ready to talk to the farmers, but the unions should say as to what is anti-farmer in the new laws. “You flatly say revoke the laws…It doesn’t happen that crowd gathers and the laws get revoked,” Tomar had said. The Union minister had further said that government is ready to make amendments to the laws and “if the agitating unions are well-wishers of the farmers, then they should make it clear which provisions” are problematic.

Tikait said, “There are many questions…it is not only the farm laws, but the electricity (amendment) bill, the seed bill… what kind of laws do they want to bring? Their ministers say the farmers don’t have knowledge about the laws. For a farmer, the laws are okay, if their crops are purchased at fair prices. If you buy their crops at half the prices, then what will you tell about the laws”.

Stating that the agitation was not just of farmers, but also of the poor, daily wagers and other sections, the BKU leader said the agri laws will destroy the poor. “This is not just one law, many more laws like these will be introduced. If brakes are not applied now, they (government) will be uncontrollable”.

Claiming that the farmers are not being given minimum support price (MSP) for all of their crops, the BKU leader said, “23 crops, including bajra, are not purchased at MSP rates. Our agitation is for a law which will not allow purchase of crops below MSP.”

Referring to the opposition to the BJP ministers whenever they go to villages to convince farmers regarding the farm laws, Tikait said, “They (BJP) send their MPs to hold talks (with farmers) in the villages. On the very first day, they started getting (adverse) results. Nobody is offering them seats,” he said.

He also criticised the government for lodging cases against the farmers, journalists and those associated with the agitation. “They impose the cases under Section 307 (attempt to murder) like they are distributing prasad. They will be taught a lesson.”

Reposing confidence in the leadership of a 40-member committee of farmer leaders, Tikait asked the government to resume talks. The government has held 12 rounds of talks with protesting unions to date.

The BKU leader said the farmers took over three lakh tractors to Delhi on the call of Sayunkat Kisan Morcha. “Delhi (Centre) should not be in illusion that the tractors were brought on rent…We have a target of associating 40 lakh tractors with the agitation. The tractor will be the face of farmer agitation in the entire world. Farmers are participating in the agitation everywhere… As many as 10,000 tractors participated in agitation in Karnataka but it couldn’t be highlighted as pen and cameras are under the surveillance of gun.”.

Tikait said seven kisan mahapanchayats have been planned in Rajasthan for this month only.

Tikait asks farmers not to destroy their crops

Referring to reports that some farmers have destroyed their standing crop in protest against three laws, Tikait asked them not to resort to such action. “The time has not come to destroy the crops. As of now, the farmers will participate in the agitation, will do works in their fields and will keep an eye on the policies introduced by Delhi (Centre).” Four days back, Tikait had said that farmers should be prepared to sacrifice one crop to continue the agitation.

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