Other States

Vote against those who made you sit on the roads: BKU to farmers

Farmers at the protest site at the Singhu border on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: SUSHIL KUMAR VERMA

Describing the report in a national newspaper misleading, Bhartiya Kisan Union national general secretary Yudhvir Singh said on Tuesday that he didn’t say ‘BKU is not against BJP’.

Mr. Singh’s alleged statement led to chatter in social media groups about whether the BKU had been able to sustain farmers’ anger against the BJP and whether the Tikait brothers would put their weight behind those who could spoil BJP’s prospects in the upcoming panchayat polls in the State.

“What I meant was BKU is not a political organisation and we don’t tell people where to vote in a panchayat election. But I also said farmers could cast their vote for any candidate except for the BJP supported ones,” said Mr. Singh.

“All along, our protest is against the anti-farmer policies of the BJP-led government and Samyukt Morcha of which BKU is a part have been repeatedly appealing to farmers to punish those who have made them sit on the road,” Mr. Singh added.

In an official release, he also reminded how BKU leaders had travelled to States where Assembly elections were being held. However, sources in BKU said the organisation didn’t want to take on the BJP directly before the Assembly elections, which are still almost a year away. “The message has already reached the ground and there is no need to underline it in panchayat elections as they are fought by individuals and not party.”

Another factor in panchayat elections is that there is no unity among the Opposition as well. While Samajwadi Party and Rashtryia Lok Dal are putting on a united front for Assembly elections, in zila panchayat president elections, they are supporting archrivals in many districts.

Sunil Rohata, RLD spokesperson said panchayat election was an opportunity to strengthen the cadre and no party would let go of it. “In West U.P., farmers are behind the RLD,” he asserted.

“So, the subtle message is to support whomever you find strongest against the BJP-supported candidate,” said Dharmendra Malik, media in-charge of BKU.

However, State vice president Rajvir Singh said the message should be clearly defined so that nobody could distort it. “When you can speak against the BJP clearly in Bengal, what is stopping you to say it in west U.P.?” asked a senior leader, requesting anonymity.

Simmering anger

Emphasisng that there is anger against the ruling party, Mr. Singh said BJP could not find candidates to support in all the 14 zila panchayat seats in Ghaziabad. “It shows which way the wind is blowing.”

On the mixed messaging, khap leaders on the ground said that farmers’ sentiment is still against the BJP but it is not that the ruling party is running short of candidates. “In Baghpat, till January BJP could have swept all the 19 seats of the zila panchayat. Now, if it could win even half a dozen, it will surprise people,” said Sudhir Chaudhary of Desh khap.

“Many candidates who were looking for BJP support are now fighting as independent,” said Shokendra Chaudhary of Battisa khap in Shamli. He said those who are supported by the BJP are refraining from canvassing and hoping that the non-Jat communities would vote for them.

Mr. Sudhir said communities like Tyagis and Gurjars have joined Jats, while others such as vaishya and dhimar (an OBC caste), which are in significant numbers, were expected to vote for the BJP.

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Printable version | May 16, 2021 3:05:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/vote-against-those-who-made-you-sit-on-the-roads-bku-to-farmers/article34314365.ece

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