The farmers’ protests were always a political protest and never really meant for the welfare of the farmers. As the Rakesh Tikait led protests are waning rapidly, Tikait is now training its guns on the BJP and will now attempt to start protests in poll-bound West Bengal to ensure the defeat of the BJP.
Announcing his plans to extend the farmers agitation to West Bengal, Tikait claimed that since Bengal is near the sea, the farmers present in the state are involved in fish farming and are a troubled lot with many fishermen having lost their lives, the agitation will be extended to West Bengal.
“Yes. Their crops are not being sold on MSP. We have got nothing to do with elections. We will talk to the farmers there,” said Tikait when he was asked if the farmers’ agitation will be extended to West Bengal.
He added, “Is West Bengal an outside state? Then why can’t we go to West Bengal? The farmers there are not getting good rates for their crops.” Tikait also revealed his plans to conduct a Mahapanchayat in Bengal in the coming weeks.
Contrary to Tikait’s claim that there are no political underlinings in the agitations being extended to West Bengal, Bharatiya Kisan Union(Haryana) Chief Gurnam Singh Chadhuni laid bare the plans of the organisers of the protests.
Chadhuni appealed to the people to not vote for anyone who does not help the protesting farmers and support their movement in elections from panchayat to parliament. He said, “As far as West Bengal is concerned, if the BJP people lose, only then will our movement will succeed.”
Chadhuni added, In West Bengal, people are dependent on agriculture. We will go there and urge the farmers not to vote for those who are taking away our livelihood.”
Clearly, the Opposition backed farmers’ protests are being extended to West Bengal to ensure the defeat of the BJP and not for the welfare of the Bengal farmers. Earlier last week, in what can read as a brand extension in marketing terminology, Tikait announced a nationwide march to “set Gujarat free”.
“We will march nation-wide, go to Gujarat and set it free. It’s controlled by the Centre. India is free but people of Gujarat are imprisoned. If they want to join the movement, they are jailed. We are deciding on the date,” said Rakesh Tikait.
The amount of misinformation in Tikait’s statement is way too high but one can understand his frustration as the farmers’ protests saw hardly any supporters from Gujarat, with the mood on the ground firmly in favour of the new farm laws.
Tikait was perhaps shocked to learn how even his tears failed to mobilise the people of Gujarat. Perhaps to mask his failure, he is now claiming that the Gujarat government is jailing people who want to join the movement.
In fact, Tikait is facing the heat after the much-hyped chakka jam was a massive failure too. The visuals of the chakka jam were so sad that people could actually count the number of people trying to block roads on their fingers. At many places across the country, Congress and Left workers were seen participating wholeheartedly in the blockading of state and national highways. Even in Amritsar – the heart of Punjab, a handful of people were seen blocking the entry road into the city. Across the country, there was close to no participation in the chakka jam by actual farmers.
Though Tikait desperately wants to continue furthering the protests in the country, it is unlikely that his travel to West Bengal would get him the much-needed traction to keep his protests afloat.