Centre's silence indicates it is planning steps against farmers' protest: BKU leader Rakesh Tikait

BALLIA: Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait on Wednesday said he will go to Kolkata this week to urge farmers to defeat the BJP in the West Bengal Assembly elections, but claimed he is not supporting any political party.

Farmers are distressed, and election will be discussed with them, Tikait said, adding that he is not going to West Bengal to seek votes.

“I will go to Kolkata on March 13. The clarion call for a decisive struggle will come from Kolkata. We will talk to farmers there and urge them to defeat the BJP,” the BKU leader said.

He was in Ballia to address a ‘Kisan Mahapanchayat’.

Replying to a query if he would meet West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Tikait said there was no such programme.

The farmer leader said a call has already been made to defeat the BJP in the five Assembly elections scheduled to begin from March 27, but asserted that he would not support any political party.

Besides West Bengal, Assembly elections are going to be held in Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

Counting of votes will take place on May 2.

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Tikait said the farmers’ movement would continue and that he is ready to negotiate with the central government.

“If the Indian government talks, we will talk,” he added.

Replying to a question, the farmer leader said he had no intention to contest elections.

Addressing another farmers’ gathering in Rasda, Tikait said a long fight will be fought and success will be achieved.

Earlier, at a ‘Kisan Mahapanchayat’ in Sikandarpur, about 32 km from the district headquarters earlier, the farmer leader launched a scathing attack on the Narendra Modi government.

Without taking any names, he said “robbers” have to be driven out of Delhi.

In an apparent reference to the prime minister, he said, “He will prove to be the last emperor.”

Taking potshots at the ruling BJP, Tikait said he too belonged to Ayodhya and he is also a descendant of Lord Rama.

He stressed that there is no need to divide the farmers’ movement on regional lines.

Stating that political parties too have now started organising Kisan Panchayats, Tikait said 2021 would be the year of the movement.

The echo of the farmers’ movement in India is being heard across the world, he added.

Giving a call to intensify the farmers’ struggle, which he said is a symbol of their self-respect, Tikait warned that if the farmers are defeated, labourers and youth will also be defeated.

Stressing that the fight has to be organised with full force, he asked the farmers to mend their tractor and trolleys and be prepared.

He said the call to leave for Delhi could be given any day.

He also called for giving a boost to the movement in neighbouring Bihar.