Ever Since PM Modi performed the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the Ram Mandir, it has become a thorny issue for the opposition. Even those who claim that they have nothing to do with politics are now scared of the holy Mandir. The recent outrage by Rakesh Tikait is one such instance.
Rakesh Tikait’s meltdown on Ram Mandir
Recently, Rakesh Tikait was invited as a guest on India TV’s election conclave named ‘Chunav Manch’ in Lucknow. Senior journalist Saurav Sharma was hosting the show. For a brief period, discussions went quite well in a civil and democratic manner. However, one sudden outburst of Rakesh Tikait muddied the ground.
Actually, the design of the background screen became the reason for Tikait’s explosion. The screen had a Topic name along with a picture on it. The topic’s name was ‘Kishan ka mukhyamantri kaun’ (which chief minister candidate truly represents farmer). The background photo used by India TV was that of Ram Mandir and a mosque.
Amidst the discussion, Tikait suddenly asked the anchor “Why have you put up pictures of temples and mosques here? Why couldn’t you show hospitals? What is the compulsion of showcasing this? This is in the interest of the country. Who are you promoting here?”
Host Saurav Sharma was in no mood to back down and gave a steep answer to Tikait. He asked Tikait not to misuse the India TV platform. Pointing that it was the farm leader himself who brought the Mandir-Masjid issue into the debate, Sharma said, “You are a farm leader, not a political leader. It was you who brought up the issues, during a discussion on the problems that farmers are facing.”
Tikait then accused Saurav of not listening to him. Saurav hit back and said it was Tikait who was diverting the issue by not sticking to discussion on farmers’ issues.
Rajesh Tikait-A master of twists and turns
Rakesh Tikait’s unequivocal opposition to the Ram Mandir did not shock anyone aware of his flip-flops during the last 12-18 months. Otherwise a silent crorepati, Rakesh Tikait came into the limelight with his stern opposition to farm laws brought in by the Modi government.
Various rounds of deliberations took place and the Union government listened to every concern raised by the Tikait lobby of farmers. The government acceded to their demands and became ready to amend the farm laws. However, Tikait’s opinion changed and he asserted that farmers would stop protesting only after the farm laws were repealed by the government.
Read more: It was never about the farm laws and Tikait has proved it
Finally, after one year Modi government decided to repeal the farm laws. This too was not enough for Tikait, and he iterated that the protests would continue despite repealing of farm laws.
Read more: By repealing the farm laws, what is PM Modi actually trying to do?
Tikait and politics-A covert relationship
Though Tikait himself has not jumped into electoral politics, his colleagues recently joined the electoral politics. 22 farmers’ Unions recently decided to make a foray into assembly elections with the announcement of a combined political outfit, called the Sanyukt Samaj Morcha (SSM).
Read more: Rakesh Tikait’s political journey is dead even before it began. UP Panchayat polls were a rude awakening for him
Tikait seems to be providing tacit support to BJP’s opposition in state elections. His political criticisms have been centred towards one specific political party, i.e., BJP. Recently, a news anchor asked him to suggest any political party which farmers could vote for.
Tikait replied that he has trained people for 13 months and now if he is asked to suggest which party should be voted in power then his training has failed. Apparently, Tikait was signalling towards 13 months-long agitations against farm laws in the country.
With the opposition to the Ram Mandir photo, Tikait has made his intentions public that he intends to oppose the BJP in letter and spirit.