Intensifying their agitation against the Centre’s farm laws, farmer leaders led by Rakesh Tikait and Yudhvir Singh of the Bharatiya Kisan Union on Wednesday met West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and sought her support for their movement which has been happening for many months now. Soon after meeting the Chief Minister, Tikait said that the West Bengal CM has assured them that she will continue to support the farmers’ movement. Thanking her for the assurance, the farmer leader said West Bengal should work as a model state and farmers should be given more benefits.
“The Chief Minister assured us that she will continue to support the farmers’ movement. We thank her for this assurance. West Bengal should work as a model state and farmers should be given more benefits,” Tikait said.
- Mamata Banerjee’s support for the agitation which has drawn on the farmer community in rural north India, is being viewed as a potential booster which has been flagging in recent weeks.
- BKU General Secretary Yudhvir Singh told PTI, “We want to congratulate Mamata Banerjee for her electoral victory and to elicit her support for the move to give farmers a fair MSP for their crops.” Singh wants to also impress Banerjee to come up with MSP for fruits, vegetables and milk products in West Bengal as “this will serve as a model” elsewhere.
- The lack of a specified MSP and glut in produce often leads to farmers suffering from extremely low prices which results in huge losses, often leading to farmer suicides in many parts of the country.
- Tikait and other farmer leaders have been agitating on Delhi’s borders for the past one year against three laws passed by the Parliament which they feel will commercialise agriculture without adequate protection to small farmers from exploitation by large retail chains and industry.
- On the other hand, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said that the Centre is ready to hold talks with the agitating farmers on “options other than the farm bills”. “The Central government has always talked in the interest of farmers’ welfare, and it is ready to talk with farmers,” Tomar said.