Farmers' Protest: BKU's Naresh Tikait 'not in favour' of Sanyukt Kisan Morcha's Rail Roko on Feb 18

Lucknow: Difference of opinion resurfaced within Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) when the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) Chief Naresh Tikait opposed the ‘Rail Roko’ call given by the morcha to intensify farmers’ agitation.

“We are not in favour of holding programs to stop rails or buses. We should not indulge in any activity which causes problems to the general public. It is our duty to ensure that our agitation is peaceful and it does not affect the lives of the people of the country,” said Tikait.

During informal talk with local journalists Tikait made mention of the violence during the tractor rally organized by the morcha on Republic Day. He feared that agitating farmers will lose sympathy and support from the general public if their stir turns violent again and causes trouble to people.

Tikait claimed that the union has raised this issue with the morcha leaders for reconsideration. “Discussion is on within Morcha whether or not to go ahead with the proposed Rail Roko program on February 18,” he claimed.

The BKU Chief, however, showed an unrelenting mood and reiterated that their agitation will continue till all the three Farm Laws are repealed and a new law is framed to ensure minimum support (MSP) to farmers' produce.

He alleged that the Central government has insulted agitating farmers by calling them ‘Andolan-karees’. “The government should keep in mind that farmers will not give up or succumb to their pressure tactics. They can’t issue diktats to farmers. We are united all over the country and have shown our strength,” he warned.

After holding tractor rally and Bharat Bandh, the Morcha leaders had announced to take out a candle march on February 14 to pay tributes to Pulwama martyrs and Rail Roko abhiyan on February 18 for four hours between 12 noon to 4 pm. Sanyukt Kisan Morcha is an umbrella body of 40 organizations of farmers and is spearheading the agitation against Farm Laws.

It is not the first time that difference of opinion surfaced within morcha. Earlier, morcha leaders had shown displeasure over BKU leader Rakesh Tikait announcing to keep Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Delhi out of morcha’s call for Bharat bandh on February 6 without consulting morcha leaders.

Morcha leaders had openly criticized Rakesh Tikait’s move saying that it was not good on part of the BKU leader to make an announcement without consulting morcha leaders.

The BKU seems deliberately singing a different tune as it does not want to allow morcha leaders, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, to hijack their agitation in Uttar Pradesh, having maximum number of farmers in the country.

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