Disquiet in BJP over farmers’ movement which may well cost it UP, Uttarakhand and Punjab in assembly polls

Denigrating remarks made by BJP MP from Bahraich Akshaibar Lal Gond for Rakesh Tikait indicate the party is in a panic over electoral reverses due to farmers’ agitation in forthcoming polls

Farmer leader Rakesh Tikait
Farmer leader Rakesh Tikait

Sushil Kutty

So now we know how a ‘dacait’ behaves and acts, how he talks and whether or not he shaves daily! BJP MP from Bahraich Akshaibar Lal Gond identified the ‘brigand’ as none other than farmer leader Rakesh Tikait. Gond further added that Rakesh Tikait is “foreign funded” to keep the Modi Government in perpetual unease, which is putting it mildly.

Farmers of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Uttarakhand have been protesting at Delhi’s borders ever since the Modi Government passed the three farm laws. The laws have in them the wherewithal to undo the minimum support price regime. Big corporations can then take over and that’ll be the end of many farmers' lives.

And it happens that Rakesh Tikait is leading the protesting farmers. For almost a year, Gond, for whatever reason, kept to the invisible sidelines. Now, he’s woken up to “dacoity” and “dakait”. Maybe to his simple mind, “dacait” rhymes with “Tikait” and is, therefore, apt comparison. Or, could be he’s trying to endear himself to Prime Minister Narendra Modi whose default mode is being stubborn.

The Opposition had sounded the bugle on Narendra Modi and the farm laws from Day One. And Congress leader Rahul Gandhi revealed the existence of “hum doh, hamaare doh”.

Naturally, the BJP doesn’t want a repeat of West Bengal in Uttar Pradesh. So Gond blurted out what’s spoken in the BJP –- Rakesh Tikait is BJP’s “UP Enemy No.1”. Label Tikait a “dacait”, give the man a bad name! Watch him hang himself. Simple formula: "Tikait is a dacait. There is no agitation by farmers. The protestors are not farmers. They are people from political parties who are motivated by ‘Sikhistan’ and Pakistan.”

That’s a new one, “Sikhistan and Pakistan”. Gond insinuated that “money is coming from foreign countries including Canada. This money is for terror funding and the agencies are probing." Which agencies? Last heard, the IT Department was “surveying” Sonu Sood, newslaundry.com and NewsClick. The ED was similarly engaged. And the CBI, NIA too had their hands full.

So, what’s this hush-hush, wink-wink about "Tikait-dacait" and “Sikhistan and Pakistan”? Gond says if real farmers were protesting, then there would have been shortages of vegetables, "milk, foodgrains, and fruits!” Rakesh Tikait must be wondering where Gond was hiding all along.

Tikait’s father, the legendary craggy-faced Mahendra Singh Tikait, it may be recalled, used to be the face of farmers protests of the 1980s and 1990s.

Rakesh Tikait has today come to play a far bigger role in matters of farmers than his late father. Rakesh is from the Balyankhap. “Tikait” is a title which was conferred on Mahendra Singh Tikait, which his sons took on as surname and it has stuck. Then again, Rakesh Tikait is not the typical kisan. His persona combines kisan with neta. And his current passion is to defeat the BJP in UP 2022, though he insists he’s only a ‘kisan” bereft of political ambitions.

The Bharatiya Janata Party knows better, though. Tikait is a real threat, who could decimate the BJP’s game-plan. Tikait and his farmers followed the BJP to West Bengal and the BJP lost the polls there. Tikait has taken it as a sign of things to come. The BJP is naturally very apprehensive. Tikait can upset the BJP cart.

The BJP is "running scared and is on the defensive", says a member of the Tikri Border Action Committee. Therefore, Tikait, “dacait” and “Sikhistan” and Pakistan. Like the Hindi saying goes ‘Marta Kya Na karta’, which is the same as a drowning man will clutch at any straw. For the BJP, Rakesh Tikait is the last straw on the camel’s back. Nothing seems to be working. There’s disquiet in the BJP.

Farmers have an uncommon fealty to each other. Remember what happened when Rakesh Tikait wept? Farmers everywhere came together, and the tide turned! Don’t be surprised if UP and Uttarakhand are lost, Goa goes and Punjab, of course, was never there. The ‘dacait’ has the habit of vamoosing with the spoils!

(IPA Service)

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