More than 20 khap panchayat leaders from Western UP areas of Shamli, Muzaffarnagar and Saharanpur, along with farmers from areas affiliated to the Bharatiya Kisan Union and other farm unions, met Delhi Chief Minister and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal at the Delhi Vidhan Sabha on Sunday.
At the meeting, the party extended support to the farmers. The leaders, in turn, pledged support to AAP in the panchayat and assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh next year.
The meeting was attended by Delhi Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel, Cabinet ministers Kailash Gehlot and Rajendra Pal Gautam along with Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh and MLA Dilip Pandey.
Among farmer leaders present were Chaudhary Rohit Jakhar, Chaudhary Yashpal Singh, Virendra Gujjar, Chaudhary Udham Singh, Rahul Bedi, Kuldeep Tyagi, Chaudhary Baba Shyam Singh, Chaudhary Sanjay, Chaudhary Shokhendra, Thakur Puran Singh, Sirajuddin Chauhan, and Chaudhary Dalbir.
After the meeting, Kejriwal told the media: “The three farm laws were discussed. These laws are like a death warrant for farmers. If they are implemented, farming will fall into the hands of a few corporates.”
He said that on February 28, a mahapanchayat will be held in Meerut: “These laws will be discussed at the meeting and an appeal will be made to the Centre to repeal them. The demand of farmers is guarantee of MSP for all 23 crops and it should be implemented as per the Swaminathan Committee report.”
“Any solution will come after the central government holds consultations. The government should not be stubborn. If the government does not listen to the country’s farmers, who will they listen to?” added Kejriwal.
Speaking to the press after the meeting, Rohit Jakhad, president of the Rashtriya Jat Mahasangh, said: “The central government put nails and barricades… Breaking all barriers of caste and religion, farmers from Western UP… were invited by CM Kejriwal to the Delhi Vidhan Sabha. There should be a law on MSP, the Swaminathan committee report must be implemented, and the three farm laws repealed. Unless these demands are fulfilled, protests on Delhi’s borders shall continue. We will also make our voices stronger by going to villages. This is a fight for farmers and of the food of this country. Is roti ko tijori ka hissa nahin banane denge.”
Kari Naushad Rao from Saharanpur, representing BKU, told The Indian Express, “At the meeting, CM Kejriwal said they will support farmers now and in the future. In return, at the mahapanchayat at Meerut, we will endorse him. We will support those parties standing with farmers — in both the panchayat and Assembly polls next year. This is a kisan-mazdoor fight — about inflation, how the government wants to turn us into ghulam (slaves). Whoever stands with us, we will stand by them.”
Other farmers also said they will extend political support to the AAP. Chaudhary Ompal Singh of Kakran khap from Muzaffarnagar told The Indian Express, “We have made alliances with the Congress and BJP in the past. Now, let us see how this (alliance with the AAP) goes. We shall support AAP in the jila panchayat elections in UP in March…”
Chaudhary Rao Riazuddin of the Muslim-Rajput khap from Khatauli said all Muslim-Rajput khaps will support AAP candidates in the panchayat polls. “We shall completely support AAP. The BJP came to power by dividing Hindus and Muslims. We shall break this kind of communal politics. We have come from all castes and religions and have taken the decision to welcome Kejriwal in a big way at the mahapanchayat,” he told The Indian Express.
“It was decided that all kisans, despite caste-religion, shall come together and make Kejriwal the CM of both UP and Delhi. It is only by political support that a solution will be found. Congress and BJP shall be boycotted…,” said Riazuddin.
While 33 khap and farmer leaders attended, Krantikari Kisan Union leader Darshan Pal of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha — the umbrella body of over 30 unions leading the protests — had said no union leader received any invite from the Delhi government or AAP.
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