West Bengal Assembly polls | Farmer leaders, civil rights activists campaign against BJP

Ask BJP leaders to withdraw the three farm Bills, say Rakesh Tikait and Medha Patkar.

Secular and pro-farmer votes in West Bengal should not get split, leaders of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha and civil rights activists who have been campaigning in the State for the past three days, said on Sunday. Rakesh Tikait of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) and social activist Medha Patkar campaigned in Nandigram, Singur and Kolkata and urged people not to vote for the BJP.

“In Delhi, the government is not talking to us. In Bengal, the same people are going door to door asking for votes. What we are telling the people and farmers is they should ask the BJP leaders to withdraw the three Bills and bring a law giving guarantee on the minimum support price,” Rajesh Tikait, who had held protests at Nandigram and Kolkata, told The Hindu. Referring to the BJP’s farmers’ outreach programme where the party leaders are visiting farm households and collecting handful of food grains, Mr. Tikait said: “Those who are collecting foodgrains should ensure minimum support price for them.”


Speaking on the same lines, social activist Medha Patkar who was in Singur on Sunday and Nandigram on Saturday, said both these places have a glorious history of people’s movement against corporates.

“In Singur and Nandigram, people were resisting corporate interest and put up a fight for protecting their land. After that all secular parties joined the movement against land acquisition,” Ms. Patkar, who addressed a kisan mahapanchayat at Singur on Sunday, said. She said even the Left parties, whose governments had pressed for forcible land acquisition, had supported the law against forcible land acquisition. She also drew a parallel between the struggle at Singur and Nandigram and the farmers protests in Delhi.

Both Ms. Patkar and Mr. Tikait said the aim of their campaign is to dissuade people from voting for the BJP. Mr. Tikait said the Morcha does not mind if people vote for “Mamataji and Left or Congress”. Interestingly, the Left parties particularly those who are constituents of the Left Front have distanced themselves from the movement.

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