Rakesh Tikait | Photo: ANI
New Delhi: Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait, who has been leading the farmers' protest on the outskirts of the national capital for the past 10 months, said that he is certain that Monday's Bharat Bandh (nationwide shutdown) will compel the Centre to listen to the voice of farmers.
Speaking with IANS, Tikait said, "We are hopeful that this time government will listen to our demands."
Denying that farmers only from western Uttar Pradesh are participating in this protest, he said, "Farmers from all over India are with us," adding that this movement is not just restricted to any one region.
Tikait further said that no matter how long we have to stretch this protest, "We will not step back."
Farmers mainly from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have been protesting at Delhi borders against the three contentious farm laws introduced by the Centre almost a year ago. The bills are as follows: Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020.
Having borne the harsh cold, sultry heat, heavy rains, farmers, who have been camping outside of Delhi-Haryana and Delhi-UP border, are ready to stay as long as it is needed. "Ruk jayenge 10 mahine aur (will stay for 10 more months)," said Tikait.
This was the third Bharat Bandh since the three agricultural laws were passed by Parliament.
He also said that the success of Bharat Bandh depends on the media as well. "If they will cover it properly and show everything that has been happening on the ground then this Bharat Bandh will be a success, otherwise not," Tikait said.
As far as government is concerned, they will say whatever suits their narrative and benefits them the most, the farmer union leader said.
He further said that he does not think that this Bharat Bandh will affect people's daily life, "People are disturbed with the rising inflation and prices of petrol and diesel. That is bothering them the most. This one-day deal is nothing in comparison to what problems masses have been facing in their daily lives."
On political parties attempting to grind their own axes in the veil of supporting farmers' cause, Rakesh said, "This is what political parties do."
While addressing the farmers and mediapersons, the leader also took a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his recent trip to the United States of America (USA) by saying, "On his US trip he met people there, here we have been asking him to meet us once for so long but he (PM) is not willing to meet us."
In the afternoon, Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) president Anil Chaudhary visited the protest site at the Ghazipur border to show solidarity with the farmers. He and Rakesh Tikait had a small talk over snacks. IANS