Saturday, June 3, 2023

Timing it with assembly polls: Farmer unions plan missions UP and Uttarakhand


Come September 5 and the farmer unions protesting against the central laws deregulating the sale of crops will launch an agitation in Muzaffarnagar as part of their plan to raise the pitch against the ruling BJP in pollbound Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

All the union leaders will address the people during the agitation, as the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), a joint body of several farmer unions protesting against the farm laws at Delhi’s borders, kick-starts Mission UP and Uttarakhand.

“The government is not listening to us. Elections are still far away and we will intensify our protest. The call to vote will be taken at a later stage. Right now we are preparing for our September 5 event,” Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait told ET.

In the run-up to the West Bengal election, farmer union leaders had travelled to different parts of the state and appealed to people not vote for the BJP. The union leaders believe this contributed to the defeat of the BJP in the state.

“In Punjab and Haryana, we are opposing the BJP and not letting BJP leaders travel to villages or plan a meeting,” said Darshan Pal, president of Krantikari Kisan Union. “We will adopt the Punjab and Haryana model in UP.”

In the recently held panchayat president elections in the state, the BJP won the highest number of seats including in the districts of western UP which are under the influence of farm protests. However, the SKM viewed the results differently.

“Out of 3,050 seats, only 765 seats went to the BJP in the panchayat elections. Most seats were won by independents and other parties,” read an SKM press note. “This was a direct election where the farmers have clearly given their mandate against the BJP. The panchayat president election was manufactured by pressure, intimidation and cheating.”

Meanwhile, from July 22, the unions are planning to stage a protest near the Parliament House as the session will commence from July 19. Around five protestors from each union will protest there every day, according to the plan.

“We may not directly pitch to vote in the beginning. We will do meetings and tell the people that the BJP government has made us sit at Delhi borders for almost eight months now,” said Joginder Singh Ugrahan, BKU (Ugrahan) president. “This will create a momentum against the BJP governments in UP and Uttarakhand.”

On Wednesday, SKM leaders will hold a meeting to discuss a detailed plan of protests in the coming days.

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