Since late 2020, the so-called farmers have been squatting at the borders of Delhi protesting against the three Farm laws enacted by the Government of India, meant to benefit the farmers. The protests, that have been taken over by Khalistanis, politicians and the middle-men that these farm laws aim to eradicate, are mainly being led by one self-styled farmer leader, Rakesh Tikait, spokesperson of Bharat Kisan Union.
Rakesh Tikait has in the past been indulged by the Indian media as a messiah for the farmers, even while he passed problematic statements inciting violence and is opposing a law that would increase the income of farmers themselves. The media has by and large been subservient to the “farmers” who have been squatting on the roads causing immense inconvenience to the people and had also indulged in rampant violence on the 26th of January.
One journalist, Garima Singh, however, took Rakesh Tikait head-on while interviewing him on a channel called News 1 India.
मौज करदी मैडम जी ने,बक्कल तार दिए डकैत के😂 pic.twitter.com/48doB3h2cC— Atul Ahuja (@atulahuja_) July 23, 2021
During the interview in one of the segments, the anchor asks Rakesh Tikait why he did not win the elections even after contesting while making tall claims of contributing to the Prime Minister winning elections in 2014. It is pertinent to note here that Rakesh Tikait has claimed several times that it was him who rallied the Jats in the Haryana region behind Prime Minister Narendra Modi during and after the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, resulting in his victory.
Assuming he has the influence in Haryana to make the Prime Minister win elections, the anchor asks him why he did not manage to win elections even though he contested twice.
Embarrassed by the question, Rakesh Tikait says, “Yes. The public did not vote for me. I lost”.
Enraged by the question, Rakesh Tikait then asks the anchor who she voted for in the elections. The anchor, Garima, flatly refuses to answer saying that she is the journalist asking the questions and it is Rakesh Tikait who should answer. To this, Rakesh Tikait goes on another rant, claiming that the anchor is actually “scared” to reveal who she voted for. Saying that the media has no “courage” to reveal who they voted for since they are supposedly all scared of PM Modi, Rakesh Tikait goes on to try and put Garima on the spot.
Garima, however, tells Tikait that it is not about courage, but the fact that disclosing who one actually votes for is not desirable, as per the tenets of our democracy. After Rakesh Tikait attempting to play the victim again, Garima asks him the pointed question again – “If you made PM Modi win, why did you not win when you fought elections twice”.
After a pregnant pause, Rakesh Tikait meekly blurts out that though he did not win the elections when he contested, he will certainly win in the “protests”.
The display of frustration by Rakesh Tikait in the video clip that has now gone viral is nothing short of amusing. Rakesh Tikait, who has fashioned himself as a popular farmer leader has failed to make a dent politically when he fought elections. Apart from Rakesh Tikait himself losing both times he contested, only recently, the BJP swept the Zilla Parishad polls in Uttar Pradesh, even winning from Rakesh Tikait’s hometown. While Tikait might fancy himself as a popular mass leader of the farmers, the truth seems to be far from it and he has so far been unable to translate his delusions into votes for himself.
Rakesh Tikait puts a condition to hold a ‘no condition talk
It is pertinent to note that the central government has repeatedly asserted that they are open to holding talks to discuss certain clauses of the Farm Bills as claimed by the protestors but will not roll back the laws.
However, Tikait who seems to be in no mood to bring the protests to a logical conclusion insists that they will end the stir or engage in dialogue only if the laws will be taken back.
“The farm laws will not be curbed, yet they are asking us to end the protest. Farmers are not protesting for 8 months so that they could follow govt’s orders. If they want to talk, they can talk, but no conditions should be imposed,” said Tikait while speaking with the media.
“We have said earlier as well that we are ready for talks whenever the government is ready. But why are they making it conditional by saying that they will not take back the farm laws?” he added exposing the irony.
11 rounds of talks failed
It is imperative to note that the government had initiated 11 rounds of talks with the protesting farmers to reach an amicable solution. In the 10th round of talks, the Centre had proposed putting the Farm Bills on hold for 1.5 years, however, that too was not convincing enough for the farmers who have made ‘my way or the highway’ their motto.
The last round of talk was held in January after which no new date was determined for the next round. As the second wave of the pandemic receded, the Centre and the Union Minister have invited the farmers multiple times for the talks, however, the leaders have been adamant on their demand.
For Rakesh Tikait, it is all politics, no farmers
Bharat Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait in a TV interview declared that if the Centre does not repeal the Farm Bills, the only option he will be left with is to defeat BJP in the Uttar Pradesh state assembly elections slated for 2022.
Deflecting the anchor’s question of whether the farmers protest was a reason for BJP’s defeat in Bengal and if the farmer leader had any role to play in it, Tikait answered, “BJP winning just 600 seats out of more than 3000 seats in panchayat elections is no less than a defeat.” Urging the Centre to reinitiate talks, Tikait said that they will visit every state if the Centre does not adhere to their demands.
Disclosing their next mission, Tikait revealed, “Samyukta Morcha’s next mission is Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.” “We are requesting the Centre to fulfill our demands before that and repeal the laws,” threatened the self-acclaimed farmer leader.
It is also pertinent to note that Rakesh Tikait has said in the past claimed that even if the farm laws are repealed, he will continue his protest till 2024, thereby exposing that for him, the protest is purely political and has got nothing to do with the farmers or the farm laws.