Farmers’ plan to lay siege to Lucknow may lend a new dimension to the movement against the farm laws

The intensification of farmers’ protests will take place after a 'Kisan Mahapanchayat' scheduled on September 5 at Muzaffarnagar in western Uttar Pradesh

Farmers’ plan to lay siege to Lucknow may lend a new dimension to the movement against the farm laws

Arun Srivastava

Ahead of the Samyukta Kisan Manch’s (SKM) plan to seal all roads leading to Lucknow on September 5, the Yogi Adityanath regime is gearing up for possible violent confrontation with the farmers.

The sangh parivar’s strategy to win the 2024 Lok Sabha election revolves around the BJP retaining Uttar Pradesh in the 2022 assembly election. A poor performance in UP would jeopardise the grand expansion designs of the sangh. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has already rolled out his strategy for UP by saying that ‘DNA of Hindus and Muslims are the same’.

While the sangh intends to entice the Muslims and garner some percentage of their votes, it is clearly not confident of Hindus voting en block for it. The vote bank of upper castes, OBC and Dalits, which the BJP had managed to create in 2017, is already showing signs of disintegration. The reign of terror and repression let lose by the upper caste Rajputs, the community to which Yogi belongs, has rocked the support base of the BJP. In fact, the RSS is finding it tough to assuage the feelings of other castes and make them rally behind Yogi.

With the pervasive anger and hatred towards Yogi dominating the political scenario, Sangh is apprehensive that SKM’s focus on UP may result in BJP losing UP. Rakesh Tikait, the popular face of the farmers’ movement, may come to represent the peoples’ aspiration and symbolise the alternative mode of politics. Even SP chief Akhilesh Yadav may find it hard to get support.

RSS is in a state of stupor and is unable to initiate any step to salvage the situation. It is also not certain that whether its suggestions would go down well with the warring factions of the BJP led by Narendra Modi and Yogi.

Sealing Lucknow would not be a one day movement. The SKM leaders plan to sustain it till the assembly elections. Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait had announced, "Lucknow will become Delhi". The farmers’ leaders have already made it known that through their ‘Mission UP and Uttarakhand', they will take their agitation to all corners of the election-bound states. The states are scheduled to go to polls in February-March 2022.

This intensification of the protest will take place after a farmer meeting or 'Kisan Mahapanchayat' scheduled on September 5 in western Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar. The event will be the biggest ever of its kind, farmer leaders have claimed.

They have been forced to harden their attitude amidst reports that the BJP leadership was once again conspiring to ignite communal clashes in western UP, which is a strong support belt of the SKM.

Some leaders recall how the BJP had engineered riots in western UP in 2013 which ultimately helped it to romp home with massive majority. The farmer leaders are determined not to allow the BJP to disrupt the social and caste tranquillity.

"We are launching Mission UP and Uttarakhand. It will make the movement more focused and intensive. There will be more big rallies and a Mahapanchayat and we will ensure that the protest against the BJP and the policies of the BJP government resonate at all steps, starting right from the village level," Yogendra Yadav has said.

The BJP has been trying to create the impression that only a section of Jats were with the movement. But that is far from truth. Even the Yadavs who have been traditionally with the Samajwadi Party have shown their inclination for joining hands with the Jats in this battle.

By inducting some Dalit and backward leaders in his cabinet during the recent reshuffle, Narendra Modi tried to reach out to the people of these castes, but the prevailing mood amongst members of these castes does not suggest that he has succeeded in his mission.

Meanwhile, the BJP has taken out ‘Tiranga Yatra’ in Haryana, which will continue for two weeks till August 15. During the 'yatra', senior BJP leaders would take part and pay homage to freedom fighters and unsung heroes of India's freedom movement.

It is a well known fact that during the freedom struggle, the RSS had identified itself with the interest of the Birtishers. Now an attempt is being made to present RSS as a participant in the freedom struggle.

The SKM holds that the 'Tiranga Yatra' is aimed at instigating farmers and defaming them. It has urged farmers to see through this ‘devious plan’ of BJP.

Yogendra Yadav, Swaraj India president and a key SKM leader, called the Yatra a ploy. "Keeping this ploy in view, SKM has decided that we will not oppose the Tiranga Yatra. However, other programmes of boycott of BJP-JJP will continue as before. The BJP, which has been completely rejected by the people, won't be able to defame farmers' agitation by taking support of this 'Tiranga Yatra'," he said.

The RSS-BJP combine has plan to launch a similar Yatra in UP also. They chose Haryana to launch the yatra in Haryana to test the mood of the farmers. But the decision of the SKM not to oppose the yatra has blunted its political relevance.

The farmers’ movement has entered into a new phase. Earlier the farmers protesting at three venues outside Delhi – at the Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur borders – have been desperately trying to catch the government’s attention. The plan to campaign against the BJP in the upcoming state elections in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Uttarakhand is aimed at teaching the party a lesson.

Rakesh Tikait has said, “We will dislodge them in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand because the Union government is not ready to repeal the black laws. Our first Mahapanchayat of Mission Uttar Pradesh-Uttarakhand would be held in Muzaffarnagar on September 5. We are soon going to sit on dharna at all the entry points to Lucknow. The government thinks we are getting tired and would suspend our agitation at Delhi’s borders but we are expanding our protest base”.

(IPA Service)

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