**EDS: TWITTER IMAGE POSTED BY @AAPUttarPradesh ON SUNDAY, FEB. 28, 2021** New Delhi: AAP National Convenor and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal addresses during a farmer's rally, in Meerut. (PTI Photo)(PTI02_28_2021_000159B)(PTI)
**EDS: TWITTER IMAGE POSTED BY @AAPUttarPradesh ON SUNDAY, FEB. 28, 2021** New Delhi: AAP National Convenor and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal addresses during a farmer's rally, in Meerut. (PTI Photo)(PTI02_28_2021_000159B)(PTI)

Farmers in a do-or-die battle: Kejriwal at mahapanchayat

Speaking at a Kisan Mahapanchayat in Meerut, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader termed the new laws as a “a death warrant” for farmers. He said the farmers were in a “do or die” battle because they felt the government would hand over their land to corporates and they would become labourers on their own land.
By S Raju, Meerut
PUBLISHED ON MAR 01, 2021 02:35 AM IST

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday described farmers as true patriots and alleged that fake cases were being lodged against them in the context of the agitation against the three new agriculture reform laws.

Speaking at a Kisan Mahapanchayat in Meerut, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader termed the new laws as a “a death warrant” for farmers. He said the farmers were in a “do or die” battle because they felt the government would hand over their land to corporates and they would become labourers on their own land.

He said that all the governments in the past 70 years cheated farmers on their demand for an appropriate price for their crops, adding, “but nothing happens after elections”.

He also indicated that farmers had nothing to do with the violence that took place on Republic Day at the Red Fort during the farmers’ tractor rally.

“What happened at Red Fort on January 26 was organised by them (he didn’t mention any names)” he said.

“People met me thereafter and told (me) protesters were deliberately diverted from the prescribed route and those who hoisted a flag at the Red Fort were their workers. Our farmers can be anything but anti-nationals,” he added.

He demanded that fake cases should not be registered against farmers.

He also presented a formula for giving a guarantee to purchase 23 crops at minimum support price (MSP).

Kejriwal said BJP leaders every day claimed MSP existed and it would remain. “I challenge Yogiji (UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath) to mention to me one mandi (market) in UP where crops were purchased at MSP,” he said.

The Delhi chief minister also spoke about the issues of sugarcane payment, escalating electricity bills, rising prices of fuel and fertilizers.

He appealed to the gathering to bring a government with clear intentions in the state to solve all their problems.

“Bring a government with clear intentions and farmers would receive the payment before reaching their home after supplying sugarcane to mills,” he said as the crowd hailed him with slogans like “Arvind Kejriwal zindabad” and “desh ka neta kaisa ho Arvind Kejriwal jaisa ho”.

The Aam Aadmi Party has already announced that it would contest the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections due in February-March next year.

He said he was the first person who contacted Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) national spokesperson Rakesh Tikait after he burst into tears because of the “atrocities” on farmers at the Ghazipur border.

“I was the first person to contact Rakesh Tikait on the phone and made arrangements for drinking water and toilets for farmers on his appeal,” the AAP leader said.

Referring to the Delhi government’s free electricity scheme, he said, “I was also under tremendous pressure and told that power companies were powerful, therefore, we can’t do much for minimising power cuts and providing free electricity. But we did that.”

AAP Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh, local farmer leaders and the party’s state president Sabhajeet Singh shared the dais with Kejriwal. Sanjay Singh and Sabhajeet Singh had visited many leaders of khaps (clan-based councils) to mobilise support for the mahapanchayat.

The stage had photographs of former Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh, one of the tallest farmer leaders of the country, and the late BKU chief Mahendra Singh Tikait.

Kejriwal ended his speech with the slogan “Chaudhary Charan Singh Amar Rahe”.

He also honoured khap chaudharies (khap leaders) on the stage and sought their blessings.

Farmers have been protesting on different borders of the national capital since November 26 against the three newly enacted farm laws: Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

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