Even in the face of no less than the Supreme Court attempting to calm tempers between the farmers’ unions and the Centre, the former side has decided to defy the instructions of the country’s top court and continue with an intensified agitation against the Modi government as planned earlier. Leading the same ‘offensive’ against the Centre is Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) senior leader and spokesperson Rakesh Tikait, who is having a splendid time trying to build a political and electoral appeal for himself at the cost of farmers and their lives. Tikait is, in fact, supportive of the agitations continuing forever.
Not much is known about Rakesh Tikait among a majority of Indians. Yet, it is crucial to bring the man’s background and opportunism out in the public domain. Not only is Tikait a political opportunist seeking to score electoral brownie points for himself under the shroud of farmers’ protest, but he is also a product of nepotism. Son of revolutionary farm leader Mahendra Singh Tikait, who was one of the founding members of the BKU, Rakesh has not amounted to even a fraction of what his father was back in the day.
As a matter of fact, Mahendra Tikait was publicly acknowledged as the “second messiah” of farmers, after former Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh. In contrast, his son Rakesh Tikait has been an unprecedented failure, on multiple counts no less. In 2014, Tikait contested the Lok Sabha polls on an RLD ticket from Amroha in UP and managed to secure a meagre 0.8 per cent vote, with only 9,359 people casting their ballot in his support. Rakesh Tikait finished a distant fourth behind BJP’s Kanwar Singh Tanwar, who’d secured 5.28 lakh votes, SP’s Humera Akhtar, who’d secured 3.7 lakh votes, and BSP’s Farhat Hasan, who’d secured 2.62 lakh votes.
In a statement which has exposed the ulterior motives of Rakesh Tikait and other ‘leaders’ like him, on being asked whether the protesting farmers will move to Ramlila Maidan to continue their protests there, he remarked, “The government has wrongly estimated that about 1,000 people would die in this agitation. In case the government tries to do away with the protests, more than 10,000 people will die.” This proves how the farmer unions and leaders like Tikait are willing to get farmers killed, only to score brownie points for themselves.
Rakesh Tikait had in June, interestingly, come out in wholehearted support of the three revolutionary farm laws, which he and his union are now up in arms against. Hailing the reforms, Tikait had said that the new laws represented the fulfilment of a long-standing wish of India’s farmers. Now, in what reflects the quantum of the man’s shamelessness, he is appearing before the media regularly to hurl anti-government remarks. In a jibe at the RSS and the BJP, after the Supreme Court’s decision to stay the farm laws, Tikait said, “Bill wapasi nahin, ghar wapasi nahin (Won’t return home until the bill is taken back).”
In what also exposes the hypocrisy of Tikait further, he was supportive of the BJP before the 2014 general elections. This was before he joined the RLD to contest the Lok Sabha polls from Amroha, perhaps on being denied a ticket by the saffron party. It would not be hyperbole to suggest that it is that alleged frustration which the man is now venting out against the Modi government. Rakesh Tikait and his ilk of opportunists must be exposed for who they really are because they are anything but sympathetic to the cause of farmers.