Let Rajnath Singh talk to protesting farmers, demands Naresh Tikait

Bharatiya Kisan Union president Naresh Tikait on Wednesday called Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh a “caged parrot” and said the farmers’ issues could be resolved if he is given the freedom to talk with them.

He accused the BJP-led Central government of being “stubborn” over the three new laws which the farmer unions want repealed. The protesting farmers too are not ready to go back on their demands, he said.

“The government has made Defence Minister Rajnath Singh a caged parrot (pinjre ka tota). If he is given the freedom to talk to the farmers, I can guarantee that there would be a decision and the BJP’s prestige will also remain intact,” he said.

He said farmers respect the Defence Minister, but he is not given a chance by the government to deal with the issue.

‘Govt. is stubborn’

Mr. Tikait addressed a farmers’ ‘mahapanchyat’ here and also spoke to reporters, claiming that the Centre was not paying heed to the farmers protesting against the laws. “The government is stubborn and is not ready to hear out farmers. It should change its attitude,” the BKU leader said.

“If the PM is not ready to repeal the laws, we are also not going to backtrack. The farmers are ruined and not getting the right price for their produce. The rise in prices of power, petrol and diesel has affected them also,” he said.

“If this government continues for long, farmers will have to abandon agriculture,” added.

The BKU leader said the way to Uttar Pradesh’s Purvanchal is through Barabanki and if farmers here are made aware of the impact of the new laws, they will be able to tell farmers in that region about it.

‘Defaming farmers’

“This government is defaming farmers, labelling them as terrorists and Khalistanis and we will not remain silent on this,” he said.

Mr. Tikait indicated that he had no quarrel with Union Minister Sanjeev Balyan, whose supporters and those of the Rashtriya Lok Dal clashed recently over the farmers’ protests.

He indirectly referred to the riots in western Uttar Pradesh in 2013, over which Mr. Balyan too had faced charges. “Earlier Hindus and Muslims lived in amity. But from 2013, BJP spread misconceptions among them and divided society. But now people have understood their tricks,” the BKU leader said.

Thousands of farmers have been camping at the border of Delhi since November-end, demanding the repeal of the new agri-marketing laws. They claim that the laws will weaken the MSP system, an argument the government rejects.

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