Socio-political movements not against the country: RLD leader

Jayant Chaudhary upset over ‘andolan jeevi, parjeevi’ remarks by Prime Minister

Responding to the Prime Minister’s address in Parliament where he cautioned people against ‘andolan jeevis’ (professional protesters), Rashtriya Lok Dal vice-president Jayant Chaudhary said on Tuesday that the country has seen many historic movements, but this was for the first time that in Parliament, the biggest panchayat, a PM described a group of protesters as ‘andolan jeevi’ and ‘parjeevi’ (parasites).

Mr. Chaudhary was addressing yet another mammoth panchayat of farmers organised by RLD in the Murbar Painth ground of Iglas town of Aligarh. ‘Painth’ is a vernacular term for the weekly village market.

“If the people could not unite and protest for their demands, how will this country progress,” he wondered. “The people who are putting a question mark over farmers’ protests seem to have forgotten that they themselves have to come to power through movements and protests.”

He said socio-political movements were not against the country. “Bhimrao Ambedkar has given us the right to protest. Chaudhary Charan Singh used to say that a farmer should keep one eye on his farm and the other on the seat of power… because he wanted the farmer to realise his political power.”

‘Get united’

He appealed to the farmers to “get united”, forgetting “caste divisions”. Invoking poet Jigar Moradabadi, Mr. Chaudhary said, “Jo toofano main palte ja rahe hain, woh duniya badalte ja rahe hain. (Those who are thriving in storms are changing the world)”

He asked if the government was serious about the welfare of farmers, how did the ‘ambitious’ PM ASHA scheme fail to achieve what it promised.

Mr. Chaudhary said people like him were not trying to take political mileage out of the farmers’ protest, instead farmers were coming in big numbers to strengthen him, knowing the battle was long. He said farmers didn’t believe in political calculations. “Today, those who are in power are showing arrogance towards farmers.”

He said the big turnout at his rallies in U.P. should clear the misconception that the farmers’ movement is of just one State. Over the next week, RLD has given a call for similar panchayats in Bulandshahr, Mathura, Hathras, and Bharatpur in neighbouring Rajasthan.

Meanwhile, party spokesperson Sunil Rohta said RLD would celebrate the birthday of party president Ajit Singh by holding a ‘Chalo Gaon’ programme.

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