The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) on Tuesday announced that all the 'Mahapanchayats' scheduled in Punjab have been postponed. The decision taken by 32 farmer union leaders comes in the wake of the proposed ‘Rail Roko’ agitation across India on February 18.
SKM leaders announced the decision during a press conference at Singhu border on Tuesday evening after their meeting to chalk out the strategy for the agitation was concluded. All trains across the country would be stopped for four hours from 12 pm to 4 pm on February 18.
Meanwhile, the other faction of the farmer leaders on Tuesday said they will hold meetings in poll-bound West Bengal as well, with one of them indicating that they will ask people there not to vote for those who are "snatching our livelihood".
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a farmers' 'Mahapanchayat' at Garhi Sampla in Haryana's Rohtak, the farmer leaders said like many other states, they will tour West Bengal too shortly. Replying to a question, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait said, "We will tour the entire nation, we will also go to West Bengal. Farmers in West Bengal are also facing problems. They are not getting good rates for their crops."
Addressing the 'Mahapanchayat', he said, "We will hold panchayats across the country. We will go to Gujarat, Maharashtra, other places... We will go to West Bengal and hold a big meeting there too. The farmers of West Bengal are facing some issues with the state government as well as the Centre. We will hold a panchayat there as well."
Asked if the visit would be connected to the upcoming Assembly polls in West Bengal, Tikait told reporters, "That is not the case, we will go there in connection with farmers' issues."
However, Haryana BKU chief Gurnam Singh Chaduni, during his address to the 'Mahapanchayat', appealed to people not to cast votes for anyone from panchayat to Parliament if they do not help the protesting farmers and support their agitation. "Do not give your vote to them, you may give it to anyone else," he said.
Later, talking to reporters along with Tikait and some other farmer leaders, Chaduni said, "As far as West Bengal is concerned, if those from the BJP are defeated, then only our stir will succeed. In West Bengal too, people are dependent on agriculture. We will go there and urge the farmers that those who are snatching our livelihood, do not vote for them."
Asked if they are going to West Bengal because the state is going to polls, Chaduni quipped, "We are not going there to help anyone in the election, but we will hold rallies there to awaken the farmers... We will tell the farmers, labourers and common people that these laws are pro-corporates."
(With agency inputs)