No need to float separate farmers' party; focus is to defeat BJP, say Tikait, Hannan Mollah & Medha Patkar
There is no need to float a separate political party for farmers to defeat the BJP, opined three prominent farmer leaders while talking to National Herald at Ghazipur border
There is no need to float a separate political party for the farmers to defeat the BJP, opined three prominent farmer leaders while talking to National Herald at Ghazipur border – one of the three epicenters of the farmers’ protest on Friday.
Speaking to NH, the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait ‘softly but firmly’ shot down any idea of floating an independent political outfit for the farmers.
Lakhs of farmers gathered to mark the completion of one year of the farmers protest at all three borders adjacent to Delhi - Singhu border, Tikri Border, and Ghazipur border on Friday, November 26 which is also celebrated as the Constitution Day.
Before leaving for Hyderabad, Tikait who has emerged as one of the most prominent faces of the one-year-long protest, however, added, “Anyone can float a political party in a democracy…But as far as the farm protest is concerned, the SKM will continue to campaign against the BJP government as it did in the past.”
SKM is an umbrella body of over 40 farmers unions. Taking a jibe at PM Modi, Tikait said, “He is a PhD in (farm) laws. He is a lawyer also. The issue is in his court…and he has to take the decision.”
Tikait highlighted how as the CM of Gujarat, Modi advocated for making Minimum Support Price (MSP) a legal right of the farmers. “He (Modi) needs to be reminded of his own words,” said Tikait.
Well-known agriculture policy analyst Devindra Sharma, while talking to NH, had opined that farmers should float their own political party and contest the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
Calling the three farm laws that PM has withdrawn “a disease”, Tikait said that farmers have diagnosed the disease.
“The MSP is the cure,” he said, and cautioned his supporters, saying, “BJP’s troll army will poke you, humiliate you but do not leave the field.”
Echoing Tikait’s views, Hannan Mollah, general secretary of the CPM affiliate, All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) opined formation of a separate political party will not produce the desired outcome.
“In fact, it may create a division among unions as all come from different backgrounds and their ideological commitments vary from one another,” said Mollah who is credited for giving a strong ideological tune to the farmers movement.
Saying that all decisions regarding the future course of action will be taken only by the SKM, Mollah said, “We will sit and decide how to carry forward the movement.”
When asked, if the farmers' protest is a non-political movement, Mollah replied, “SKM has campaigned against the BJP and will campaign against the BJP government in the forthcoming assembly polls.”
Calling the Modi government “stooge of big corporates,” Mollah said the NDA government has enough money to write off lakhs of crores of bank loan, but they do not have money to pay the MSP to farmers.
Speaking to NH, Mollah vowed to give “vote ki chot (damage by votes)” to the Modi government. The AIKS leader said, “Modi only understands the language of the votes…farmers’ movement will continue till the government passes the bill in parliament and make MSP a legal right”.
Similarly, Medha Patkar, the face of India’s longest anti-displacement movement – Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) viewed floating an independent party as not a ‘fructuous idea’ at this juncture.
However, she said, “If any who wish to form a separate political party to push for the demands, can do so”.
Explaining why the farmers movement is not limited to the demands for the withdrawal of the three farm laws or making MSP a legal right, Patkar said, “The idea of development propagated by the media and the consecutive government at the Centre is essentially anti-poor and pro-corporate.”
Speaking to NH at the sideline of the protest which was held to mark one year of the farm protest, Patkar said, “The reality of Gujarat Model stands exposed now…earlier it was implemented in Gujarat (when Modi was the Chief Minister of the state) now it is being implemented all over the country”
Sharing her experience with NH, Medha said, “Muzaffarnagar riots happened when Gujarat Model was implemented in Uttar Pradesh before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls”.
Saying that the farmers' movement has bridged the gap between the two communities and created a wide consensus over the issues of livelihood, Patkar said, “Despite it being a non-political movement at large, the undercurrent is against the communal politics."
"The SKM will campaign against the BJP in coming polls,” asserted the anti-displacement activist.