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27 years ago, BKU leader Tikait had led massive protests demanding the same farm reforms Punjab farmers are protesting against now

Tikait had asked the government to permit farmers to sell their products anywhere in the country. He demanded that the farmer should be able to sell the produce to the buyer who is ready to pay the best price

27 years ago, Mahendra Singh Tikait from Uttar Pradesh was the face of farmer’s protests. In 1993, Tikait and four other BKU leaders had met then-PM Narasimha Rao on Rao’s invitation. Tikait had asked the government to permit farmers to sell their products anywhere in the country. He demanded that the farmer should be able to sell the produce to the buyer who is ready to pay the best price. There should be no compulsion on selling the produce to the licensed buyer of a government authorized market.

Secretary, Agriculture Ministry, MS Gill, also met Tikait and other BKU leaders. At that time, the PV Narishmna Rao had shown an inability to fulfill the demands completely. Tikait revolted against the government and led protests to satisfy his demands, but that could not happen. He also demanded that the price of wheat should be decided based on the price of 1967.

Markets opened for farmers 11 years after Tikait died

In the recently passed Agriculture laws, the government has allowed the farmers to sell their products anywhere in the country. It took twenty-seven years and determined PM Modi-led government bring reforms in the Agriculture laws. Mahendra Singh Tikait could not witness the fulfilment of his demands, as he had passed way in 2011. However, the same BKU is now protesting against the laws that are in sync with the ‘original’ Tikait’s demands 27 years ago. BKU’s ties with AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal has also come to light.

Who was Mahendra Singh Tikait

Born in 1935, Tikait was one of the most famous farmers’ leader in Independent India’s history. Hailing from village Sisauli in Muzaffarnagar District of Uttar Pradesh, Tikait was President of the Bharatiya Kisan Union. For his work done for the farmers, he was often termed as the ‘second messiah’ of the farmers.

Tikait’s name made it to the headlines for the first time when he demanded electricity bill-waiver for farmers in Muzaffarnagar in 1987. In 1988, his stature became larger-than-life when he led a farmers’ protest in Delhi. Then-Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi-led government had to face the wrath of over five lakh farmers who took over Delhi for seven days. At that time, the protesters did not step back even after police opened fire at them that resulted in the death of two farmers Rajendra Singh and Bhoop Singh.

At that time, Tikait had said, “PM has behaved like an enemy. The displeasure of farmers will cost him dearly.” The farmers’ agitation was so intense that the government had to change the program’s venue on the death anniversary of former PM Indira Gandhi. The protests ended after the government agreed to all 35 demands laid down by Tikait.

 

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OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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