Lucknow: The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of the farmers’ unions, is slated to hold a Mahapanchayat in Lucknow on Monday November 22 to press for a law guaranteeing MSP and seek the dismissal of Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni, whose son is an accused in the October 3 Lakhimpur Kheri violence.
The Mahapanchyat will be held at the Eco Garden and had been scheduled before Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the repeal of the three contentious farm laws on November 19.
Despite the Prime Minister’s surprise announcement, farmer leaders have maintained the protesters will not budge until the three contentious laws are formally repealed in Parliament.
They have also indicated that the stir for a statutory guarantee of Minimum Support Price (MSP) and withdrawal of the Electricity Amendment Bill will continue.
Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) spokesman Rakesh Tikait said, “The farm reforms being talked about by the government are false and cosmetic. These will not end the plight of the farmers. The biggest reform for the farmers and agriculture will be to make a law guaranteeing minimum support price.”
Vice-president of the BKU’s Uttar Pradesh unit Harnam Singh Verma said, “The Prime Minister has announced the repeal of the three farm laws, but he did not say when the MSP law will be made. Until a law is made guaranteeing MSP and Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni is removed from his post, the agitation will continue.”
In the violence on October 3, four farmers were allegedly mowed down by an SUV in Lakhimpur Kheri.
Besides the four farmers, a journalist and two BJP workers were also killed.
Over a dozen people, including the minister’s son Ashish Mishra, have been arrested so far in the case.
“The BJP had promised during the last UP assembly elections that once it forms government, sugarcane farmers will receive payment within 14 days. But it has not been done. In the last four-and-a-half years, sugarcane price has increased by only Rs. 25,” Verma said.
Rashtriya Kisan Manch president, Shekhar Dixit said, “Until all the demands of the protesting farmers are met, the agitation will continue. The Prime Minister made the announcement with an eye on the upcoming assembly election.”
Sukhvinder Singh, the father of Gurvinder Singh, one of the four farmers killed in the Lakhimpur Kheri incident, said he would attend the Mahapanchayat.
Meanwhile, Lucknow Police Commissioner D. K. Thakur said that elaborate security arrangements have been made for the Kisan Mahapanchayat.