Ahead of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha’s Mission Uttar Pradesh, Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) president Naresh Tikait has appealed for support for the Rashtriya Lok Dal-Samajwadi Party alliance in the upcoming U.P. polls. So far, both the SKM (the umbrella grouping of farmer unions) and BKU have refrained from endorsing any political party.
On January 14, Mr. Tikait blessed the RLD candidates from Budhana and Meerapur seats of Muzaffarnagar at the BKU headquarters in Sisauli village.
Addressing the gathering, Mr. Tikait said the upcoming elections would test the pride and resolve of farmers. “Wherever there are candidates of the [SP-RLD] alliance , make them win,” he is seen saying in a video of the gathering.
Later talking to the reporters, he said, “Whatever I wanted to say, I have said. You could draw your own inference.”
However, BKU general secretary Yudhveer Singh told The Hindu the candidates went to seek Mr. Tikait’s blessings because he is also the head of the Baliyan khap. “He might have got carried away but it should be seen as a social courtesy.”
Mr. Singh said the BKU continued to be an apolitical outfit. “We still have reservations about the ruling dispensation because some of our important demands have not been met but we are not seeking votes for any political party and it is not part of the Mission U.P. that is going to start from February 1.”
Vice-president of the BKU’s Meerut zone Manoj Tewatia, however, said ground reality was different from the formal position.
“Mr. Tikiat had to pick between the two Baliyans in the fray,” he said. The BJP has retained the ticket of sitting Budhana MLA Umesh Malik, a protege of Union Minister and Muzaffarnagar MP Sanjeev Baliyan. They faced the ire of BKU during the farmers agitation. RLD has fielded two-time MLA Rajpal Baliyan who is said to be very close party president Jayant Singh.