At Singhu border, Rakesh Tikait's cutouts, posters and badges of farmers stir draw crowd

BAHADURGARH: BKU leader Rakesh Tikait on Friday revealed plans by farmer leaders to hold meetings in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state Gujarat and said protesters in Delhi will not return home until the Centre reaches an “agreement” with them.

It was not immediately clear if the remark made at a “mahapanchayat” here was a climb down from Tikait’s earlier assertion that there will be no “ghar wapsi” unless the laws are withdrawn.

The government has been telling farmer unions to consider an option other than the complete repeal of the laws.

He said the government will have to talk with the farmer unions’ committee spearheading the agitation against the laws.

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“This agitation will continue until the Government of India talks to the committee and arrives at an agreement. Till that time, farmers will not return home,” he said addressing a “mahapanchayat” organised by the “Dalal Khap 84” near the Tikri border.

He also claimed the agitation is spread across the country and not limited to Punjab, Haryana or Uttar Pradesh as being projected by some.

More “mahapanchayats” will be held in coming days, he said, adding that they will go to Gujarat as well.

Tikait alleged that farmers from Gujarat were being pressured not to lend support to the agitation.

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“If anyone from Gujarat wants to come here to support the agitation and if it is found they are coming, police are being send to their homes,” he alleged.

“We will hold meetings in Gujarat and other states,” he said.

Tikait also said the “business on hunger” will not be allowed and those wanting it will be “driven out” of the country.

Hitting out at the farm laws, he claimed these will lead to the dismantling of the minimum support price (MSP) and exploitation of farmers, from whom big companies will procure their produce at cheaper rates and then store it in godowns.

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Big godowns will be built, which will be barricaded on similar lines like the ones near the protest sites at the Delhi borders, he said.

Without naming anyone, he said attempts have been made to divide the farmers’ stir.

“They tried to divide us on the lines of Punjab and Haryana, then small and big farmers,” he said.

“We have said that the three laws are not acceptable to farmers and should be rolled back. But how will they take back these when godowns were built first and laws were framed later,” he said.

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“They did business of temple, religion and feelings. Now, they want to do the business on hunger,” Tikait alleged.

The BKU leader from Uttar Pradesh has been camping at Ghazipur on the Delhi-UP border for over two months against the central laws enacted in September.

The Centre has been saying these laws will bring in new farming technologies and free the farmers from the clutches of middlemen.

The farmers have been rejecting these claims, saying these laws will harm their interest.