‘UP gives the highest price for sugarcane among all states, but will protest against UP govt’: Rakesh Tikait interview exposes his political intentions

Rakesh Tikait and Suresh Chavanke (Image: BS/Jansatta)

On September 20, an interview of Kisan leader Rakesh Tikait was aired on Sudarshan Channel’s show Chalte-Chalte. Hosted by Suresh Chavhanke, the show touched every possible issue that is believed to be the reason behind the blockade between the central government and various Farmer Unions resulting in almost 10-month long farmer protests.

During the interview, BKU leader Rakesh Tikait seemed to be making clear that his protests are not for farmers, but specifically against the BJP governments, in centre and states.

‘The government wants to help businessmen, not farmers’

During the interview, Tikait accused the government of helping the businessmen to buy produce at a lower price and sell it higher price in the market. He alleged that before the three Agriculture laws were enacted, the business houses had already built silos and warehouses across the country. He questioned if the business houses knew such farm laws were coming that would help them in increasing their hold on the food business.

Interestingly, Chavhanke pointed out that silos are being built since 1978 by private firms. That does not mean they were planning for these laws to get enacted. It is a common practice for the business houses to do market research and invest in sectors where they see a possibility of growth and profit.

The claim that corporates, especially Adani, have been making grain silos to ‘exploit farmers’ is one that has been peddled multiple times by various political parties and their media counterparts, including NDTV’s Ravish Kumar.

In reality, In 2005, Adani got into a BOO (Build, Own, Operate) agreement with FCI to set up grain silos in Moga and Kaithal. A 2008 report said that the silos were operational and 3 lakh tonnes of wheat produce was procured for FCI in the previous season. Interestingly, the grain silos operated by Adani and owned by FCI in Punjab, actually procure food grains at MSP.

In a statement, Adani had clarified that they only provide the infrastructure. They do not have any role in procurement and deciding the price.

‘Government should fix MSP’

Tikait alleged that the government should fix MSP; otherwise, the private sector would exploit the farmers in private markets. He claimed that if MSP is fixed for every crop, no one would be able to buy the produce at a lower price than the MSP fixed by the government. When asked that government cannot buy 100% produce, he said the law should regulate the price for private players as well.

While the suggestion looks good on the table, it is not feasible to impose MSP on every type of produce, especially perishable food items like vegetables. In such cases, the involvement of the private sector and last-mile availability of storage and processing can play a vital role. However, Tikait, during the interview, demanded that there should be no commercial activities near National Highways. It is unclear what was why Tikait is against the processing plants and storage facilities near National Highway as they would help the farmers to get the produce stored or processed near the farms.

Tikait claimed that the group of Kisan Unions had formulated the financial workflow for MSP that would make sure government does not have to spend any additional money on procuring produce. However, he did not present any data or provided any additional information during the show. He alleged that the government wants to talk only if the farmers agree to the new laws, which is not true. The government has asked to discuss the problems unions have in detail so that the laws could be amended if required. It is the farmer unions who are stuck at repealing the laws and do not want to discuss anything before the government does so.

Notably, in a recent interview with Rubika Liyaquat on ABP News, Rakesh Tikait failed to mention even a single problem that the unions have with the three Agriculture Laws. When Liyaquat asked repeatedly, he deemed her as someone ‘on the payroll of the government’.

‘UP government is giving wrong data’

Tikait claimed that the Uttar Pradesh government is providing wrong data on payments of sugarcane. He further alleged that the backlog had not been cleared. He also alleged that the Yogi government is delaying the payments.


Coming on the price of the sugarcane, Tikait said that the UP government is giving Rs.325 per quintal, which is higher than several other states, including Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra etc. Instead of protesting in those states, Tikait said that they would protest against the Yogi government and urge them to increase the price. When Chavhanke confronted him that his motives seemed political, he bluntly denied as said he would be happy if CM Yogi became PM and PM Modi became President, but ahead of the 2022 elections, he would protest against CM Yogi. Tikait did not explain why he is not protesting in states like Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu where the procurement price for sugarcane is much lower.

Allah Hu Akbar

When Tikait was asked about Allah Hu Akbar chants that he raised during Mahapanchayat, he repeatedly said that the constitution gives everyone the right to practice the religion of their choice. But, interestingly, when he was confronted with the fact that the said chant means Allah is the supreme God and it is unacceptable to Hindus, he started showing his Rudraksha Mala with Om pendant.

Chavhanke sarcastically said, “Does the Om pendant has Trishool, or you changed it with a cross? Because you can do anything….” He further questioned if Tikait’s father would be okay with him, stating Allah is more supreme than Bhagwan Shiv. Tikait chose to skip the question and changed the topic.

‘Owaisi is BJP stooge’

During the interview, two dogs appeared in the frame, and Chavhanke joked that Owaisi had arrived. On the topic, Tikait claimed that Owaisi was BJP’s stooge. When confronted by Chavhanke that if he feels Owaisi would take away ‘Muslim votes’ that he was planning to grab with the chants of Allah Hu Akbar, Tikait fumbled. He claimed he has no interest in fighting elections. Chavhanke asked if he would support anyone from the family to fight elections, Tikait ignored the question.


The problem with ‘Jai Shri Ram’

Tikait said there was a tradition of saying ‘Ram Ram’ as a greeting. “But these people came and changed it to Jai Shri Ram. We don’t want to say Jai Shri Ram. What was the problem with Ram Ram?” he said. When Chavhanke said it was up to the person what he wanted to say, Tikait again tried to make it an issue and said, “No, but what was the problem with Ram Ram? They made it Jai Shri Ram. Why?”

Tikait peddles misinformation, equates privatization and monetization

Tikait claimed that the government was selling its assets to private players. When Chavhanke said the government is monetizing to earn money so that it can be invested in projects that would help the public, Tikait refused to agree.

During the interview, Tikait seemed to be making it clear that his interests are political and specifically directed against BJP governments.

OpIndia Staff: Staff reporter at OpIndia