CHANDIGARH: Farmer unions have begun holding tractor rallies at villages in Punjab to mobilise people for their planned tractor parade in Delhi on Republic Day.
Already tractor rallies have been held in places like Nawanshahr and Gurdaspur as a build-up to the proposed January 26 event, farmer leaders said.
More are planned over the next two days.
"There is a great enthusiasm among people in Punjab to become part of the tractor parade," Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan said on Tuesday.
He claimed that five to 10 tractors are ready to leave for Delhi from many villages, and in some over 50 are lined up.
"We are fully geared up for a tractor parade. We have given a call for taking out tractor marches in all villages in the state on January 20 and 21 in view of the January 26 tractor parade," said Kokrikalan.
"We are taking out tractor marches to make people aware of the January 26 tractor parade," a farmer who took part in a rally in Gurdaspur said.
He said the aim is get the maximum participation possible for the Republic Day event to press for the repeal of the three "black laws" on farming.
Another farmer said they wanted to let the government know that there are still many tractors left in Punjab, even after the massing of tractor-trolleys by farmers protesting at Delhi's border.
"We still have a large number of tractors back home that will move towards Delhi for the tractor parade," another farmer said.
Farmer unions have announced that they would hold the parade on Delhi's Outer Ring Road as part of the protest against the new agri-marketing laws enacted at the Centre.
In the Supreme Court recently, the Centre had sought an injunction against the January 26 rally or any protest that could disrupt the official celebrations that day.
But the apex court said the police had all the authority to deal with the matter.
Farmer unions have said they planned to hold their parade on the periphery of the national capital and would not disrupt the official Republic Day event.
Bhartiya Kisan Union (Sidhupur) president Jagjit Singh Dallewal said 20,000-25,000 tractors would come to Delhi from Punjab alone for the planned parade.
Farmers with their tractors will leave for Delhi later this week, union leaders said.
"Our batches will start moving towards Delhi from January 23 and 24," Kokrikalan said.
Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee general secretary Sarwan Singh Pandher said their batches will head for the capital on January 20 and January 22.
BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) vice president Harinder Kaur Bindu said women who are camping at the Delhi border and those who come later from Punjab will take part in the parade.
"Several women will also drive tractors on January 26," she said.
Kokrikalan said announcements are being made from gurdwaras and from vehicles fitted with loudspeakers for mobilising people for the parade.
Farmer leaders have earlier said their tractors would fly the national flag and also carry the flag of their organisations.
Thousands of farmers from Punjab and Haryana have been camping at Delhi's borders for several weeks, demanding the repeal of the farm laws and a legal guarantee on the minimum support price for crops.
They claim that the new laws would weaken the MSP system.
But the Centre says the MSP system will remain and the new laws only provide more options for farmers to sell their produce.