Other States

Khap leaders upset over group meeting U.P. CM

As the news of Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Umesh Malik taking a delegation of khap Choudharys to meet Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Aditynath spread, some khap leaders reacted strongly to it. “It is an attempt to divide us and we would advise the government and our political representatives to refrain from it,” said Shayam Singh, the Thamba Chaudhary of a dozen villages of Gathwala khap.

Around 50 tractors of Gathwala and Battisa khaps reached the Ghazipur border and put their point across.

In the meeting with the Chief Minister, the Gathwala khap was represented by Rajendra Malik, the son of the Chaudhary of the khap, Baba Harkishan Singh. “In the meeting, nominees are not sent, even if it is the son. And when Union Minister Sanjeev Balyan met Baba Harkishan in Lisad last month, Baba reprimanded him for not speaking on behalf of the farmers,” Mr. Singh said. “As per our knowledge, no other khap was represented by its head in the meeting.”

‘Meet Mr. Tikait’

Mr. Singh said if the BJP leaders were too keen to rope in khap heads, why does Mr. Balyan not approach Naresh Tikait who is the head of the khap he belongs to. “Naresh ji has repeatedly said the BJP leaders should avoid visiting villages to convince farmers for farm laws. While many leaders of the party have followed his advice, there are some who are too keen to express their loyalty to the central leadership.”

BJP leaders have said that the movement was not of the khaps, but of the farmers. “If that is the case, why Mr. Balyan and Mr. Malik were busy approaching khap Chaudharys,” said Baba Sanjay Kalkhande, Chaudhary of Kalkhande khap in Lilon village of Shamli.

“Those who thought that farmers would be won over just by building the Ram temple were mistaken. For us, the biggest temple is our farm, and today it is in shambles... how would we offer anything to the temple when we have not been paid our dues and there is no increase in SAP for the last three years,” said Mr. Kalkhande.

He was not against meeting the CM, but demanded that the PM and the CM should meet the right people. “There is no harm in telling the CM about our problems. However, right now, some of our political representatives are painting a picture that all is well and that it is some political parties that are trying to foment trouble,” he said referring to the Sorum episode (in Muzaffarnagar) on February 22 where Mr. Balyan said those who raised slogans against him were from the Rashtriya Lok Dal. Earlier, he said, Samajwadi Party workers raised slogans against him in Bhainswal.

They have forgotten, he said, that farmers in this region rejected these parties in 2014, 2017, and 2019.

Still, he added, farmers were ready to give BJP a chance provided they mend their ways.

Sokendra Chaudhary, son of Baba Surajmal of Battisa khap, said his father was indisposed, but he refused to meet the BJP leaders when they approached him. “We have repeatedly told them to explain their point of view to the Samyukta Kisan Morcha but they are employing different tactics to divide us.” The next move, he said, could be to isolate Jats as they did in Haryana. “As of now, all the 36 castes are working as one unit. In a khap, every caste is represented by its Chaudhary. We are working towards mending social ties,” said Mr. Chaudhary.

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Printable version | Apr 20, 2021 2:32:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/khap-leaders-upset-over-group-meeting-up-cm/article34023604.ece

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