Kisan panchayat part of AAP's plan to make its presence felt in Uttar Pradesh
- The AAP has already announced it would contest the 2022 Uttar Pradesh assembly.
With the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) looking to create ripples in the political space of Uttar Pradesh in the run-up to the 2022 assembly elections, Delhi chief minister and party chief Arvind Kejriwal described himself as “beta” (son) and “chhota bhai” (younger brother) of farmers as he sought to strike a chord with them at his party’s maiden Kisan Mahapanchayat in Meerut on Sunday.
Kejriwal tried to touch upon all those issues that have been of concern to farmers and others in the western Uttar Pradesh region, which is close to Delhi where the AAP is in power.
“Therefore, it is easier for the AAP to influence people of the region by highlighting the success of the party's policies in Delhi. And they believe that ongoing farmers’ movement could be an opportunity for them to connect with people in the region and other parts of the state,” a political expert said.
The AAP has already announced it would contest the 2022 Uttar Pradesh assembly.
In his speech, Kejriwal emphasised that he tried to provide every possible assistance to agitating farmers at the Ghazipur and other borders of the national capital. The farmers are demanding a repeal of the Centre's three contentious farm reform laws.
“It should not be an issue for the Union government even if it suffers a loss of ₹1-2 lakh crore by purchasing crops at the MSP (minimum support price) for the happiness of millions of farmers,” he said in the backdrop of the agitation.
He also brought up the issue of sugarcane payment arrears. Sugarcane is a very important crop for the region’s rural economy and politics. He asked why the state government was unable to mount pressure for clearance of these dues.
The crowd cheered him as he said, “Bring a government of good intentions and it would ensure that mills deposit money in the accounts of farmers before they return to their villages after dumping their load of sugarcane in the mills.”
He spoke of how he “tamed” mighty power distribution companies in Delhi to ensure that people get free electricity and an uninterrupted power supply.
The AAP chief again said, “If you bring a government with good intentions.... you would (get) free electricity and water in villages.”
Kejriwal also criticised the government on the increasing fuel prices and cooking gas cylinders. A person even brought a cooking gas cylinder to the mahapanchayat as a symbolic protest against the increasing prices.
AAP Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh, who played a key role in holding the mahapanchayat, has been attacking the Yogi Adityanath government over various issues in the last few months.