LUCKNOW: A day after laying siege to all the major national highways in western UP, farmers, led by Bharatiya Kisan Union national spokesman Rakesh Singh Tikait, moved towards Delhi and stopped short of entering the national capital at Ghaziabad border.
Supporting the ‘Dili Chalo’ call given by their counterparts of Punjab and Haryana on Saturday, the agitating farmers of UP started their protest march towards Delhi from Muzaffarnagar under the leadership of Tikait and reached Ghazipur border with their vehicles on Saturday afternoon.
Notably, the farmers are protesting against the three new central farm laws aimed at bringing reforms by doing away with middlemen and improving farmers' earnings by allowing them to sell products anywhere in the country. Farmers and opposition parties allege that the laws will deprive the farmers of a guaranteed minimum price for their produce and leave them at the mercy of corporates.
Sources said around 200 farmers arrived at UP Gate (Ghazipur border) as part of 'Delhi Chalo' march call given by farmer organisations in Punjab. After the police officials of both UP and Delhi spoke to the farmer leaders, the latter decided to park their vehicles in a row at the designated spot and stay put at the Ghazipur border to confabulate among themselves to decide their future course of agitation.
While talking to media persons at UP gate, Tikait said the farmers had symbolically entered the National Capital and now they would decide their next strategy at the Ghazipur border. Sources said the farmers could spend the night at the border.
Tikait reiterated the demands of the agitating farmers saying: “We want a grantee in Minimum Support Price (MSP). We are going to discuss with other farmer groups and then decide out the recourse of action,” he maintained.
Earlier, before marching towards Delhi by driving a tractor himself on Saturday forenoon, the BKU leader had claimed that the Central government had failed to address the issues of the farmers. "The government has failed to address the issues of the farmers. We are proceeding to Delhi now. We demand that there
should a provision stating that there will be no sale of produce below the MSP,” said Tikait.
Meanwhile, coming out in support of the demonstrating farmers, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav took on the Centre. "Treating farmers with such dereliction has never been done by any party except the BJP. These are the same people who had told farmers that they would not only waive loans but would
also, bring in policies to double farmers’ income.”