Airconditioned rooms and landcruiser buses were ready for them. But the farmers still missed something – the good, old hookah. But in Lucknow, famed for its tehzeeb (etiquette), can guests be kept unhappy? Hookahs were arranged post-haste from a nearby market.
Long before the late afternoon and the scouting for hookahs, 30 rooms at the Mirabai Marg guesthouse and another 30 at the VIP guesthouse in Dalibagh stood ready for the farmer leaders who came to participate in Thursday’s kisan panchayat. As they settled in, the menu was flashed before them. “Both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food is available,” the attendants said.
But before the guests could make up their mind, the manager of the Mirabai Marg guesthouse rushed into the room of Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) chief Rakesh Tikait with some important news: Agriculture minister Chaudhary Laxmi Narain and rural engineering services minister Thakur Jaivir Singh were waiting, presumably to have lunch with them. Soon, the leaders were on their way to meet the ministers.
A few farmers, however, stayed back. “We are bored,” said one of them, “We want to go sight-seeing.”
The message was passed on and soon, eight landcruiser buses rolled up outside the guesthouse. Later in the evening, Tikait told the guesthouse manager not to arrange for dinner as the farmers had decided to cook. “We have brought flour, potatoes, onion and spices,” he said.