Farmers protesting against recent farm reform laws on the outskirts of Delhi are willing to continue their agitation till 2024 when the next general elections will take place if required, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait said on May 26.
“Badhiya jagah hain yeh (this is a nice place), the weather is pleasant here, the farmers would not have any problem sitting here until June, or July 2024,” the BKU leader said.
Tikait said the farmers are ready for another round of talks with the government, but are standing firm on their demands for a minimum support price (MSP) law. “They do not want to agree on that because that will affect companies that aspire to buy our products at really low costs,” he argued. “The BJP leaders in the states have no answer to our questions. Today in Gujarat, a large part of the mango cultivation is carried out by businessmen who are in Mumbai. Do we want that across the country? ”
He said bills passed by some states run by opposition parties to counter central laws are not of much benefit to farmers.
Talking about violating the Covid-19 rules and regulation at protest sites, he told “we have been careful.” He also blamed the government for the covid-19 situation in India.
“Covid-19 cases are increasing because the government has not built the necessary hospitals or provided the necessary drugs,” he said.
“We are doing this for our future generations. There will be a time when roti will become a gem if the laws are implemented. We are dying two deaths here, one from Covid and one from these laws. If the government is really concerned about our condition, it should withdraw these laws and we will go home”, he added.
The next Lok Sabha elections in the country will be due around April-May 2024. Dismissed allegations that the protest was being fuelled by “rich farmers”, Tikait said farmers from everywhere have joined the protest.
Thousands of farmers have been camping at Delhi’s borders at Singhu, Ghazipur, and Tikri, since November to press the government into repealing the new laws. According to farmers, the new laws would create monopolies in the markets and trap farmers into contract farming arrangements with corporate buyers.