Exclusive: 'Farmers will not go home just like that; there are other issues'
Asianet Newsable's Yacoob spoke to Rakesh Tikait to understand the future roadmap of the agitation.
Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait is one of the leaders who spearheaded the farmers' protest against the Centre's farm laws. The 51-year-old stunned the Narendra Modi government when he announced that the farmers will not return home just yet as sought by the Prime Minister moments after the latter declared on national television that the contentious farm laws will be repealed. The farmer leader insisted that unless the government brought in legislation on Minimum Support Price, farmers would not return home. Ahead of the Kisan Mahapanchayat called by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha on Monday, the umbrella body of farmer unions in Lucknow, Asianet Newsable's Yacoob spoke to Tikait to understand the future roadmap of the agitation.
Will the 32 farmers organisations decide to call off the strike following the Prime Minister's appeal?
We will not go home just like that. There are other issues like the withdrawal of cases against farmers. We need answers on farmers' death during the agitation. There is a question on MSP, there is a seed bill and there are many more issues that need to be addressed. Let the government come to a discussion on all these. Until these are not addressed, we will not leave (protest site)
Interestingly, BJP leader Varun Gandhi has openly said that if the government had taken this decision long back, many lives would have been saved, what is your take on this?
Whatever he (Varun Gandhi) has said is correct. Many lives could have been saved. We told them (the central government) in December 2020 and January 2021. If the government had listened to us then, many lives could have been saved.
In 2010, a similar public movement against the UPA government resulted in two factors. Anna's movement led to UPA collapse and the AAP party was floated which then captured power. Do you see a similar thing repeating?
I don't see any atmosphere like that. But I want to tell you one thing that there is a good contribution from everyone (all farmers organizations). And no one is interested in taking political benefits from this agitation.
Critics say that Rakesh Takiat is doing this for a political career. How do you respond to this charge?
No no, absolutely not!. People (political parties) can stay calm. I am not going into politics. BKU (Bharatiya Kisan Union) will not get into politics.
What is your expectation from the government with regard to MSP?
We will remain committed to MSP. Until a decision is not taken on MSP will continue our protest. First, let them come for talks.
There is also talk that the government's decision to roll back the farm laws is linked to the elections in Punjab and UP. Is there a plan B?
We will not go into any discussions or details. What we need is repealing the farm laws. We are only concerned with that only. When someone raises a buffalo, the individual does not see whether the buffalo is black or white, but rather what matters to the person is how much milk the buffalo gives.
Are the farmers satisfied with the government's rollback? What will be the consequences of this rollback?
We had placed our demands and the PM announced the rollback. If his ministers had explained to him about the consequences, the decision would have come much earlier. As for the consequence (of the repealing of the three laws), the farmers will be able to sell their produce is decent rates.