KOLKATA: Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) spokesman and farmers’ movement leader Rakesh Tikait on Wednesday claimed that he was going to poll-bound West Bengal (WB) “not to seek votes but to meet the farmers who are anxious as the produce is not being purchased on the minimum support price (MSP)”.
“I am reaching Bengal on March 13 to meet the farmers of the state. When I decided to go to Bengal, people asked me was I going there. I made it clear that I am not going there to seek a vote. I am going there to talk to the farmers and assuage their concerns,” said Tikait while addressing a Kisan mahapanchayat at Chetankishore ground in the Sikandarpur area of Ballia district on Wednesday.
Questioned by reporters whether he was going to Bengal as a move against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Tikait said, “Obviously I am not going there to ensure their (BJP) victory.
I am going there to give a wake-up call to the farmers.”
Tikait also reiterated the demands of the farmers and recounted the recent happenings at the Delhi border.
Making a veiled attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said: “They will have to go. He (Modi) will prove to be the last ‘badshah’ (king). MSP is paid nowhere in the country.
Bengal farmers are also anxious as they are not getting MSP for their produce. I am also going to tell them what happened to us in Delhi.”
Tikait also claimed that trains were not being operated in full capacity as preparations were on to sell the railways to the private sector.
Terming Ballia as “the land of revolutionary people”, he claimed that “farmers across the country are now awakening and the movement against new farms laws is spreading”.
Tikait also asked farmers to send at least one tractor from each village with 15 people on board to Delhi to extend support to the movement after a call was given.
Earlier, on way to Ballia, Tikait landed at LBSI Airport in Varanasi where he told the reporters that the future of farmers will be decided on roads and not in Parliament.
“Due to anti-farmers’ decision of the government, the farmers have been forced to come on roads. The government is testing the patience of the farmers but it will cost it dear.”
Tikait enjoyed the support of opposition party leaders, especially of Samajwadi Party (SP), while passing through Ghazipur on his way to Ballia