Farm laws: BJP to hold nationwide ‘chaupals’; no ‘rail roko’ by farmers – The Tribune India

Vibha Sharma

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 11

With farmers’ unions intensifying protest against the central farm laws, the BJP has decided to hold nationwide programmes, including ‘chaupals’ in rural areas, to spread awareness about their benefits.

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Party sources said events, including press conferences and public programmes, would be held in majority of districts in the country.

Meanwhile, the ‘jathebandis’ said there was ‘no rail roko’ in their protest plans, which includes making toll routes free of cess, blockade at the Jaipur-Delhi Highway and dharnas at district headquarters and state capitals.

BKU national spokesperson Rakesh Tikait addresses farmers during their ongoing protest against new farm laws, at Delhi-UP border near Ghazipur, in New Delhi on Friday. Tribune Photo: Manas Ranjan Bhui

Confirming this, BKU (Rajewal) president Balbir Singh Rajewal said the decision regarding ‘rail roko’ would be taken later after consultations with unions across the country.

While the BJP has accused the Opposition parties of “misleading and inciting” farmers over “historic farm reforms” for “selfish political interests”, a new controversy erupted with “posters of jailed extremists” on the Tikri border where the BKU-Ekta (Ugrahan) is protesting.

While the Centre on Friday again urged the protesting farmers to return to the table for dialogue, leaders warned of “Left-Wing threat to farmers protest”.

Referring to posters demanding release of jailed accused at Tikri yesterday, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar called it a “dangerous and diversionary tactic to divide the farmers’ agitation”.

“They can demand for MSP, the APMC, changes in the Acts…what do these posters mean? Farmers should be careful as this is a way of dividing the movement,” he said.

Terming it a “matter of deep concern”, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said: “This is a sinister design to hijack the movement, exploit farmers unions…. there is enough evidence to show ‘tukde tukde gang’ is threatening to take over the protest. There are serious charges against those being portrayed as victims.”

When asked about the controversy, Rajewal said the protests at Tikri were under the BKU-Ekta (Ugrahan), “and has nothing to do with ‘jathebandis’ at Singhu”.

Meanwhile, a day after Union Ministers Narendra Singh Tomar and Piyush Goyal argued in favour of these laws and government’s stance regarding MSP, ‘mandis’ and the APMC, Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared the video of their press conference and urged the people to listen to them carefully.

“My two Cabinet colleagues, Narendra Singh Tomar and Piyush Goyal, have discussed in detail about the new farm laws and demands of the farmers. Must listen to this,” he said.

A BKU from Uttar Pradesh has also approached the Supreme Court against the three agriculture laws, alleging they will make them vulnerable to corporate greed.

On Wednesday, Bhanu Pratap Singh, who heads BKU (Bhanu), filed a petition for impleadment in the matter of Tiruchi Siva versus the Union of India.

Siva, a Rajya Sabha MP from Tamil Nadu, has also approached the Apex Court against the three farm laws, according to reports. Singh’s writ petition also challenged the laws, calling it “unconstitutional” and “anti-farmer”.

Tomar, who today again asked the farmers to return to the table, said he was yet to hear from farmers regarding government’s proposals offering amendments to the laws.

The All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination in turn charged him of “falsely claiming that farmers’ organisations have gone back on talks and should not have intensified their agitation at a time when talks are on”.

“Farmers’ organisations are always ready for talks and have responded each time the Government has called. It is the Government which is adamant on not repealing the three Acts and EB 2020 which is the main demand of the farmers,” it said.

More farmers have joined the dharna sites at Singhu, Tikri, Ghazipur and Palwal, unions said. “Farmers from Tamil Nadu have arrived and groups of farmers from almost all states of India shall be arriving to join the Delhi protest, soon,” they added.

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