Farmer leader Rakesh Tikait, who met West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday, said today he told the Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief that the country’s opposition is weak. Tikait has been leading the protests by farmers near the Delhi border seeking withdrawal of three farm laws passed by Parliament in September, 2020.
“We said the opposition in the country is weak. We are sitting on the streets now. Had the opposition been strong, we need not have done that. Opposition should be strong, we told her (Mamata Banerjee),” Tikait was quoted as saying by news agency ANI on Thursday.
The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader said that he met Banerjee as a chief minister and not as a party chief.
“Did I meet the Afghanistan President, for which I had to take Govt of India’s permission? Does it require a visa to meet a CM? We’ll meet all CMs over state policies,” Tikait told ANI, adding he will also meet the chief ministers of Uttarakhand and Punjab, which are ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress, respectively.
During Wednesday’s meeting with Tikait and other farmer leaders in Kolkata, Mamata Banerjee assured her support to the agitation against the Centre’s farm laws, which has been going on since November last year. One of the most vocal critics of the laws in the opposition, Banerjee hit out at the Centre on Wednesday by asking why it was so difficult to speak to the farmers. She also said the farmers’ movement is not just limited to the north Indian states of Punjab, Haryana or Uttar Pradesh and it is for the whole of India.
“The BJP rule has been disastrous for all sectors from healthcare to farmers to industry. India is suffering…we are facing both natural and political disasters,” the Bengal CM added.
Eleven rounds of talks have so far been held between the farmers’ unions and the Centre in a bid to end the deadlock over the farm laws, which were passed in September 2020 by Parliament. However, no concrete solution has come up yet and farmers are continuing their protest despite the raging second wave of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic in the country. The farmers are adamant on their demands for a complete revocation of the farm laws along with the assurance of a legal guarantee on Minimum Support Price (MSP).
Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar once again urged the unions to resume talks over the laws and list their objections in the provisions with logic. “We will listen and find a solution,” Tomar said during a cabinet briefing on Wednesday.