New Delhi: Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait on Saturday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should express grief in Parliament over the deaths of around 750 farmers in protest against the months-long anti-agriculture law along Delhi’s borders.
He lashed out at the BJP-led Center over the issue of Minimum Support Price (MSP) and alleged that the government’s assurance will continue “only on paper” and farmers really want it.
Participating in a discussion titled ‘Seeds of Anger: Fear and Fact: How to Overcome Agricultural Crisis’, BJP MP Rajendra Agarwal accused Tikait that the protests against the three central agricultural laws appear to be politically motivated.
At the conclave, Tikait said, “Farmers are protesting to get fair purchase price for their crops. The government claims that MSP has been, is and will be but farmers really want it and not just on paper.”
“The farmers’ protest has entered its 11th month. The government and the prime minister should once speak in Parliament about the 750 farmers who lost their lives during the protest,” he said.
Tikait, who has been leading hundreds of BKU members and protesters in Ghazipur on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border since November 2020, said the PM should express grief over the loss of farmers.
Agarwal, however, said that Prime Minister Modi always speaks about farmers and speaks about them in Parliament.
The Lok Sabha MP from the Lok Sabha said, “The protest has entered its 11th month, but there has been confusion about it all the time. There may be misunderstandings about the laws, but they have been debated on various platforms. Even reached the Supreme Court.” Meerut said.
“I want to know just one point in the laws that they have objection. So this (protest) seems to me not motivated by the interests of farmers but by political agenda or political ambitions. The protest may be linked to some political parties,” said Agarwal. said.
He said that all discussions regarding laws have been done and Narendra Modi government is sensitive towards farming community with proven track record since 2014.
When asked whether MSP was not a legal guarantee during the previous governments, Tikait replied that that is the reason why those parties are no longer in power.
The BKU leader claimed, “In 2011, a financial committee was formed with the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as its chairman. It recommended to the Center that a law should be made to guarantee MSP.”
“Today Modi is cheating the country on what he had recommended,” he alleged.
Agrawal, a BJP leader from western UP, referred to Rakesh Tikait’s father Mahendra Tikait to highlight the plight of farmers and claimed that the new laws have freed them from mandis, allowing them to sell their crops anywhere.
Tikait, however, insisted that Agarwal could define “anywhere”.
Hundreds of farmers have been camping in Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur bordering Delhi since November 2020, demanding that the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Agriculture The Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 should be withdrawn and a new law should be made in MSP for crops.
The protest is being led by Sanyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella organization of farmer unions.
The Centre, which has held 11 rounds of formal talks with farmers, has said the new laws are pro-farmer.