Protesting farmers hand PM a lesson for his 'Andolan Jeevi' comment

The protesting farmers on Monday wore as a badge of honour Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reference to some of them as “Andolan Jeevi” and handed him a lesson in history. Modi’s comment had come in the Rajya Sabha while he was replying to the motion of thanks to the President’s address. “Farmers would like to remind the PM that it is andolans that have liberated India from colonial rulers and that is why we are proud to be Andolan Jeevi,” said a statement from the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), the banner under which the movement is being conducted.

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“It is the BJP and its predecessors that had never done any andolan against the Britishers and they were always against the andolans. They are still scared of public movements.” The government’s “adamant attitude” is creating more “Andolan Jeevi”, the SKM said, adding that the agitating farmers would be more than happy to return home. But, as Rakesh Tikait has said, there could be no “ghar wapsi (return home)” without a “kanoon wapsi (law repeal)”. 

The farmer union leaders see not even a sliver of hope in the Prime Minister’s speech. They said he had again talked only about tweaking the contentious farm laws and not about repealing them, and seemed to be addressing only his own supporters and not the farmers. Gurnam Singh Chaduni of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Haryana) said Modi had declared several days ago that he was only a call away. “Farmers are sitting at Delhi's borders. Why doesn't he call the farmers if he wants to talk?”

Given the pace of mobilisation and the farmers’ anger at the enemy-like treatment being handed out to those protesting at Delhi’s borders, union leaders say it’s impossible to back down now as the Prime Minister is suggesting. “We cannot just pack up and leave on the basis of what he said in Parliament, which is just empty words,” a union leader said. Referring to Modi's assertion that “MSP (minimum support price) was there, MSP is there, MSP will remain in the future,” Tikait asked at a rally: “Why not then enact a law guaranteeing MSP?”…


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