Thursday, December 1, 2022

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United we matter, say farmer leaders spearheading stir

“We (farmer unions) have united for a cause and the cause is much bigger than any union or leader. It is the cause of saving the agrarian sector, by stopping the government from giving our economic rights to corporates,” says Jagmohan Singh Patiala, general secretary, Bhartyia Kisan Union (Dakaunda).

Leaders of each of these 32 unions, whether big or small, set aside personal biases and egos to come together as a team every day. Each day, they meet in the afternoon and each and every aspect of the ongoing stir — the current stage, the formal and “informal” proposals by the Centre and the further course of agitation — is discussed threadbare. These issues are then discussed with the BKU Charuni leadership and later in the meetings of Sanjha Kisan Morcha.

Considering that there is a drastic variation in the education levels and exposure of all leaders (from doctors to those who are not even matriculates), it is indeed unique that all are together.

In fact, the BKU Ekta Ugrahan and the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, the two unions that are staging a dharna at some distance from the joint dharna of the other 32 unions at Tikri, too, participate in the meeting of the Sanjha Kisan Morcha and implement the decisions on carrying the protest forward. It was at the behest of Dr Darshan Pal, president of the Krantikari Kisan Morcha, who played a role in stitching together the differences, that representatives of these unions started coming to the meetings of the Sanjha Kisan Morcha.

Each day, one of the union leaders is given a chance to handle the stage and to announce the outcome of the meetings. All decisions are taken and announced only after a verbal voting and the decision of the majority vote is accepted. “I have spent more than 50 years in fighting for farmers’ issues. Experience has taught us to carry everyone along, by giving equal importance and opportunity to each leader. Moreover, any leader who breaks away will meet his own political end. This fear too keeps many together,” says Balbir Singh Rajewal of the BKU Rajewal.

Attempts by the Central Government to ignore some farmer unions while calling others for talks, or holding talks with some unions that are not a part of the protest just “for optics” have all been “successfully ignored”, Rajewal said.

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