People’s movements will defeat BJP in 2024: SKM leaders

The September 6 meeting of the farmers’ movement will determine its future course, says Rakesh Tikait

August 22, 2022 11:09 pm | Updated August 23, 2022 10:20 am IST - New Delhi

Bharatiya Kisan Union Spokesperson Rakesh Tikait with All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) General Secretary Hannan Mollah and others during a seminar on ‘The Future of Farmers Movement in India’, at Gandhi Peace Foundation in New Delhi on August 22, 2022.

Bharatiya Kisan Union Spokesperson Rakesh Tikait with All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) General Secretary Hannan Mollah and others during a seminar on ‘The Future of Farmers Movement in India’, at Gandhi Peace Foundation in New Delhi on August 22, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

Cautioning the Centre that the 2020-21 farmers’ protests were just a trailer, activists of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) said here on Monday that the real film will begin if the Centre goes back on the promises given to the farmers at the time of suspending the agitations in December, 2021.

Speaking on the future of the farmers’ movement at a seminar organised by P Sundarayya Memorial Trust at Gandhi Peace Foundation, senior leader of the SKM Darshan Pal said politically important months are ahead and political benefits of the farmers’ struggles will be reflected in the upcoming State elections and 2024 general elections. “We will remain as a united force. People’s movement will defeat the BJP. We will resolve whatever differences are there among the SKM,” Dr. Pal said.

SKM leader Rakesh Tikait said the next course of the movement will begin from Bihar, which will be to protect the farmers’ right over markets and for proper prices for what they produce. The next meeting of the SKM, scheduled for September 6, will decide future course of the movement, he added.

Fighting the common enemy

All India Kisan Sabha president Ashok Dhawale said the Centre is working for big corporate companies and the farmers have realised that these companies are their real enemies.

“Had these three farm laws were not repealed, minimum support price (MSP) and procurement would have ended by now. Public Distribution System may also have stopped, risking food security. If enacted, the Electricity (Amendment) Bill will result in the increase in power bills of households by four to five times. It is brought for privatisation of power sector. The four labour codes are dangerous for workers,” Dr. Dhawale said, adding that the future of the struggle will be led by the peasants and workers together.

His book, When Farmers Stood Up, was also released during the seminar.

Mr. Tikait said 23 crops now get MSP and it should be expanded to fruits, eggs, milk and such products. “The Centre wants big companies to do agriculture. They are handing it over to big companies. This is a ploy to acquire land of farmers. Their only motive is to grab farmers’ land. We will defeat it,” he claimed. He alleged that the government is trying to break farmers’ organisations, adding that it is scared of such movements.

CITU general secretary Tapan Sen said the farmers’ protests provided immense energy and confidence to the workers’ movements too. “Corporate class is trying to exploit the common people. We have to write our own future. The producing class runs the country. Now, they are fighting against the common enemy — the corporate class and a government that protects corporate interests,” Mr. Sen said.

Rally and memorandum

Samyukt Kisan Morcha (non political), a dissident group of the SKM, held a massive rally in Jantar Mantar and submitted a memorandum to President Droupadi Murmu, urging her to direct the Centre to fulfil the promises made to farmers.

Its leaders said that the farmers stopped agitation in 2021 based on the promises made by the Centre but the government is yet to deliver on the assurances. “Not only that, the government is initiating more anti-farmer policies like negotiating Free Trade Agreements,” they said and urged her to advise the Council of Ministers to initiate a discussion with the farmers as soon as possible.

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