Raut at Ghazipur, farm leaders play down political angle

Vinayak Padmadeo

Tribune News Service

Ghazipur, February 2

Bhartiya Kisan Union’s activist Dharmendra Malik asked political leaders and activists coming near the stage to maintain dignity of the movement. “Sanyunkt Kisan Morcha is apolitical. Please keep that in mind,” he said moments before senior Shiv Sena leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut’s entry near the stage on Tuesday. Raut, along with party MP Arvind Sawant, was the latest of the high-profile opposition leaders to visit Ghazipur and meet Bhartiya Kisan Union’s national spokesperson Rakesh Tikait.

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“We spoke to Tikait Saheb and showed our solidarity with the farmers. The government should speak to the farmers and show respect. Ego will not help,” Raut said taking a dig at the Central Government.

“The Maharashtra Government is with the farmers,” he added. In the last week, SAD chief Sukhbir Badal, former Congress MP Deepender Hooda, Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, INLD leader Abhay Singh Chautala, Rashtriya Lok Dal’s vice-president Jayant Chaudhary and Congress’ Rajya Sabha MP Pratap Singh Bajwa, have visited the farmers.

The spate of visits has raised the political temperature and speculation that farm leaders, including Tikait, who polled little over 9,000 votes in the last parliamentary elections from Amroha and opposition leaders are using the protest to further their cause. “Everyone is welcome here,” Tikait said.

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