Muzaffarnagar Mahapanchayat invokes sharp reactions: Who said what
Thousands of farmers from Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Rajasthan and Maharashtra gathered at Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh for Kisan Mahapanchayat on Sunday in protest against the Centre’s controversial farm laws. The event was organised by Samyukt Kisan Morcha at the Government Inter College grounds. Farmers have also been protesting at different Delhi borders over the same since November last year.
The Mahapanchat has garnered support from politicians from across the spectrum. Here are some of the reactions it invoked:
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday said the Mahapanchayat echoed the “call of truth” that an “unjust government” must listen to. Supporting the protesters, Gandhi tweeted in Hindi, “The call of truth is echoing. You have to listen, unjust government!” Several other Congress leaders also threw their weight behind the Mahapanchayat.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said that the “arrogance of power” cannot withstand the roar of the farmers. “Farmers are the voice of this country. Farmers are the pride of the country. Arrogance of any power cannot withstand the roar of the farmers,” she said.
“The huge crowd gathered in the Kisan Mahapanchayat of Muzaffarnagar shows that the farmers of Uttar Pradesh and the country are fed up with the BJP,” said Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot. He said the farmers of the country won’t lag in teaching the saffron party a lesson at the right time. The farmers are fed up with the BJP, he claimed.
“They are our “annadatas”. They keep us alive and the government does not care to listen to them,” said CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury.
While urging the government to listen to the farmers’ demand, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) spokesperson Sudhinder Bhadoria said, “It’s a democratic right of every citizen to have a peaceful protest and it should not be stopped by the police.”
Bhadoria termed the security arrangements as an “insult” to the farmers. He said, “This kind of security arrangement would make the Kisan Mahapanchayat look like the India-Pakistan border.”
BJP MP Varun Gandhi said, “We need to start re-engaging with them in a respectful manner.” The Pilibhit MP called farmers “our own flesh and blood”, and insisted their hardships be taken into consideration. “Lakhs of farmers have gathered in protest today, in Muzaffarnagar. They are our own flesh and blood. We need to start re-engaging with them in a respectful manner: understand their pain, their point of view and work with them in reaching common ground,” he tweeted on Sunday.
Meanwhile, BJP’s Kisan Morchahead and MP Rajkumar Chahar claimed in a statement that it is politics and not concerns for farmers which have been on the agenda of those behind the Mahapanchayat. “This was very much a political and election meeting. The Opposition and these farmer union leaders have been using the shoulders of farmers to engage in politics,” he said.
Union minister Anurag Thakur pointed out that the government has held 11 rounds of talks with farmers. He also said that the government has increased the minimum support price for the benefit of farmers.Taking a veiled dig at Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait, who is spearheading the farmers’ protest, Thakur asked how many mandis have been shut down in the last two years.