Farmer leaders divided over tractor march on Republic Day?


Vibha Sharma

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 15

Ahead of the ninth round of Centre-farmer talks on Friday, there have been some major developments on the ongoing agitation. 

While BKU’s Bhupinder Singh Mann has recused himself from the Supreme Court-appointed committee, throwing into tizzy prospects of any such mediations, there also appear to be difference in opinion among union leaders over the shape of the January 26 tractor protest 

Amid the growing social media buzz on unions “tractor parade” on Republic Day, farmers’ leader Balbir Singh Rajewal said the January 26 plan will be revealed after the meeting with the union ministers. He, also, urged everyone to maintain peace and harmony and not pay heed to “false and unfounded inflammatory propaganda and rumour mongering” on the tractor march like “unfurling national flag at the Red Fort etc” to “malign and scuttle the movement”. 

However, though Rajewal said that unions will finalise the contours of January 26 tractor march after their meeting with union ministers tomorrow, BKU leader Rakesh Tikait announced the programme for the day saying that farmers will hold simultaneous parade from Red Fort to India Gate on Republic Day.

“The Republic Day parade has been cut short, it will now be from Rastrapati Bhawan to India Gate, I am told. We will march from Red Fort to India Gate and meet it there. It will be a historic moment,” Tikait said.

According to Rajewal, efforts were being made to malign the agitation through ‘dushprachar’ (false propaganda).

“The whole world is watching. This is not just a farmers’ movement. It has become a mass movement across the country. A movement is successful only when it is completely peaceful, if there is violence it collapses,” he said, adding that, “Misconceptions/false inflammatory propaganda are being spread about the January 26 movement. Some people are saying that the national flag should be hoisted at the Red Fort, some are saying the Parliament will be stormed.”

He accused the “anti-farmer forces and government agencies” of trying to malign and scuttle the peaceful agitation of farmers and common people. 

Urging everyone to maintain peace and calm, he told the farmers that the tractor march will be “from” Delhi borders.

The exact outline of the programme for January 26 will be given following the meeting.

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has expressed hope of positive discussions today. 

While unions have already specified that they will not appear before the court-appointed panel, they said they were ready to attend the scheduled talks with the government. 



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