In order to gather support for the ongoing farmers' protests, farm union leaders said that they will hold meetings across the country, including in poll-bound West Bengal. We will ask people there not to vote for those who are "snatching our livelihood", they added.
The peasant leaders said they will be touring West Bengal too shortly while speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a farmers' "mahapanchayat" at Garhi Sampla in Rohtak.
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."
Tikait said the 40 leaders spearheading the agitation against the Centre's farm laws will tour the entire country to drum up support for the stir.
He told the gathering earlier that the "panch" (leaders spearheading the stir) and the "manch" (stage) of the agitation will remain the same.
Later, asked by reporters why he has been asserting in recent days that the Singhu border protest site will remain central to the ongoing farmers' stir and not the Ghazipur border, Tikait said this was to underline that the "panch" and the "manch" will not change.
The BKU leader from Uttar Pradesh has been camping at Ghazipur on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border for over two months against the contentious agriculture laws passed by Parliament in September last year.
Replying to another question, Tikait said, "We are thankful to those who are supporting the stir. But if anyone has done anything against the country, we do not support that."
Chaduni said governments are not above people and they will have to accept the demands of the protesting farmers.
"We have to fight till we get our rights, even if that means fighting till our last breath," he said.
Earlier, Tikait and other farmer leaders, including BKU's Balbir Singh Rajewal from Punjab, paid floral tributes to Sir Chhotu Ram at Garhi Sampla.
With PTI Inputs