Chandīgarh: After the exodus of several ministers and deputies, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is expected to face the heat of the agricultural unions before the elections in Uttar Pradesh. Expressing its dismay and anger that the Narendra Modi government at the Center has not responded to any of the pending demands on the basis of which the peasant movement was withdrawn on December 11, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), during its meeting of ‘examination on Saturday, announced that he would take on ‘Mission UP’ against the BJP.
“He will stand on the same lines seen in the polls in West Bengal. Voters will be asked to vote against the BJP for its anti-farmer policies,” said key SKM member Dr. Darshan Pal. Thread shortly after the SKM meeting at the Singhu border near Delhi.
Dr Pal said the SKM has no intention of resuming a political campaign against the BJP after promising to respond to all outstanding demands through an official letter to the SKM on December 9. But a month later, with the BJP failing to do anything about these demands, he says, the SKM is being forced to relaunch Mission UP.
He added that Mission UP would start with a permanent position bitten in Lakhimpur Kheri which would start on January 21, as this is where four innocent farmers were mowed down in what was later confirmed by investigative agencies as a ‘planned conspiracy’.
But despite this, the BJP continues to protect Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni, who is the main conspirator in the Lakhimpur Kheri incident.
“On the other hand, the Uttar Pradesh Police are too active to implicate and arrest the farmers named in this incident. To oppose it, there will be permanent bitten under Rakesh Tikait and other SKM members,” he said.
He also added that the SKM has also decided that on January 31, a “Treason Day” will be observed across the country and large protest demonstrations will be held at district and bloc levels.
Pending issues and status
Among SKM’s main outstanding demands were the constitution of a panel to give legal character to the minimum support price (MSP), the withdrawal of the false cases registered against the farmers and the compensation of the families of farmers who died during the event that lasted a year.
Apart from this, SKM requested the removal of the anti-farmers provision in the Electricity Bill Amendment Bill, the removal of the penal provisions on farmers for burning stubble in the Commission for Management air quality in the National Capital Region and Adjacent Areas Act 2021, in addition to the dismissal and arrest of Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni in relation to the massacre of Lakhimpur Kheri farmers .
SKM leaders at the press conference after the review meeting claimed that no action had been taken by the Center in any of these matters.
While Teni continues to serve as a minister in the Modi government, police cases registered against farmers during agricultural protests are unfolding as before in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. In Haryana too, apart from some administrative formalities, no concrete action has been taken.
SKM leaders also said that on the issue of compensation, the states as well as the center are silent. The government of Uttar Pradesh has taken no action to compensate the families of martyred farmers. No announcement has been made by the government of Haryana regarding the amount and nature of the compensation, they added.
“On the issue of the MSP, the government has neither announced the formation of the committee nor provided any information on the nature of the committee and its mandate,” read the statement released by SKM after Saturday’s meeting.
He also announced that on February 23 and 24, the country’s central unions called for a national strike over issues such as the withdrawal of the four anti-labor codes, as well as issues of MSP to farmers and against privatization. SKM will endorse and support this call in the form of a rural strike.
Farmers no longer fight elections with SKM
The SKM also said that the various constituent organizations of Samyukta Kisan Morcha which decided to fight against the elections in Punjab are no longer part of it. “We will review the situation in April,” said Dr Darshan Pal.
He said the SKM has always prohibited any use of its name, banner or scene by any political party, and has remained apolitical from the start and will remain so.
“SKM will treat everyone the same. This will continue and apply to farmers who started their political party,” he said.
Meanwhile, Balbir Singh Rajewal, who formed the new political party Sanyukt Samaj Manch, and Gurnam Singh Chaduni, who formed his own team, were not present at the meeting. Rajewal’s SSM has already declared candidates in over 10 seats and it will declare more candidates in the coming days. No less than 22 agricultural organizations support the SSM of Rajewal.