NAGPUR: Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait on Sunday said farmers are prepared to protest against the Centre's new farm laws "till May 2024", and termed the ongoing agitation by peasants at Delhi borders as an "ideological revolution".
Addressing a press conference in Nagpur, Tikait said they want a legal guarantee on Minimum Support Price (MSP).
Farmers have been protesting near Delhi since November 26, 2020, demanding scrapping of the three new farm laws, which have been projected by the Centre as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove the middlemen and allow farmers to sell anywhere in the country.
However, the protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of the MSP and do away with the mandi system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.
The Supreme Court last Tuesday stayed the implementation of the three new farm laws till further orders and decided to set up a four-member committee to resolve the impasse over them between the Centre and farmers' unions protesting at Delhi borders.
Asked how long will farmers will sit in protest, Tikait said, "We are prepared to sit in protest till May 2024...our demand is that the three laws be taken back and the government provide a legal guarantee on the MSP."
The next Lok Sabha elections in the country will be due around April-May 2024. Dismissed allegations that the protest was being fuelled by "rich farmers", Tikait said people from villages and various outfits have joined the protest.
"This is an ideological revolution of farmers started from Delhi and will not fail. Farmers from villages do not want us come back until the three farm bills are taken back. The government is adamant on its stance of not withdrawing the bills and this agitation will continue for long," Tikait added.
He welcomed the SC's decision on staying the implementation of the farm laws, but said the committee formed by the apex court has members who "supported" the farm bills. "We do not want to go before the committee formed by the court. The government has also said that the government and farmers will find solution on this issue," he said.
Tikait also said the opposition parties in the country were weak and that is why farmers had to start this agitation against the Centre's new laws.
On National Investigation Agency's (NIA) notices to some people supporting the farmers' protest, he said, "Those who want to be part of the agitation must be ready for court cases, imprisonment and sealing of property."