Digvijaya Singh meets farm leaders to rally support for Rahul’s Bharat Jodo Yatra

While many farm leaders from MP, UP, Rajasthan and Haryana met Digvijaya Singh, prominent farm leaders like Gurnam Singh Chaduni and Rakesh Tikait were not in the Saturday’s delegation

Digvijaya Singh meets farm leaders
Congress leader Digvijaya Singh meeting farm leaders in New Delhi

Farm activists at the meeting agreed to lend their support to the yatra, saying that some of the farm organisation’s leaders and activists are already taking part in Rahul’s yatra in Maharashtra and this would become more visible when the Congress leader enters Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana and parts of Uttar Pradesh in the months to come.

A host of farm-rights activists met veteran Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member Digvijaya Singh in New Delhi on November 12 and tried to impress upon him the need for building up a strong public opinion regarding what they call to be their just demands that remain unresolved ever since the withdrawal of their over a year-long agitation against the three farm laws.

Also read: Maharashtra: Rahul Gandhi resumes Bharat Jodo Yatra after visiting gurdwara in Nanded

Promises unfulfilled

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“The laws have been repealed but the promises made to farmers are yet to be fulfilled,” said one of the participants from farmers’ side after the meeting that lasted for over an hour or so. He expressed his inability to tell more about what transpired in the closed door meeting, but added that about 35 farm leaders gave a charter of demands to Digvijaya Singh in the presence of former Lok Sabha member from Delhi and Congress leader Udit Raj, who coordinated farmers’ delegation’s interaction with Singh.

Farm leaders say that they have been in touch with Udit Raj and a meeting with Digvijaya Singh, scheduled to be held on October 20, had to be postponed as he was indisposed that day.

Support for Rahul’s yatra

On Saturday, Singh heard farmers patiently at an MP’s bungalow in Central Delhi and urged them to join, participate and support Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra from wherever they could in good strength. The farm activists present during the interaction agreed to lend their unreserved support to the yatra, saying that some of the farm organisation’s leaders and activists are already taking part in Rahul’s yatra in Maharashtra and this would become more visible when the Congress leader enters Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana and parts of Uttar Pradesh in the months to come.

These are mainly the states whose farm leaders were part of the delegation that met Digvijaya Singh on Saturday. Yet, prominent farm union leaders like Gurnam Singh Chaduni from Haryana and Rakesh Tikait from UP were not in the Saturday’s delegation.

Congress sources say that such interactions with different interest groups routinely take place. Congress leaders, they say, have constantly been in touch with farmers and Rahul Gandhi has consistently been highlighting their plight through the course of his yatra and also before that as this has led to several cases of suicide by debt-ridden farmers in different parts of the country.

Civil society’s backing

Congress is also believed to be making contact with different farm leaders separately. Yogendra Yadav is already moving with the yatra since its beginning from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu. Yadav was a prominent face of Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) during farmers’ agitation against the three controversial farm laws.

Yadav’s participation in Rahul’s yatra is though more from the side of civil society rather than the farmers’ ranks. He was part of an interaction between members of civil society and Rahul and Digvijaya Singh that took place in New Delhi days before the commencement of the Bharat Jodo Yatra on September 7.

Yadav’s support to the yatra along with his other civil society cohorts has led to the broad-basing of Rahul’s mission that he, as per the Congress, wants to keep above politics so as to invite myriad sections of the society to unite or reunite India through his countrywide foot march from Kanyakumari to Kashmir.

Positive outcome

Asked about the Saturday’s farmers deliberations with Digvijaya Singh, the spokesman of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Asli), Prabal Pratap Shahi, said the interaction ended on a positive note where it was agreed in principle that the farmers would join and support the yatra while Congress would continue to highlight the just demands of farmers like according a legal status by the government to minimum support price (MSP) for main crops. Shahi is also a member of SKM and his union’s leader, Harpal Singh Bilari, was among the delegates who met Digvijaya Singh. Another organisation whose leaders took part in the meeting was Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ambawata).

Also read: Cong to take out a Bharat Jodo Yatra from East to West next ahead of 2024

The farmers’ meeting with the Congress leader assumes significance as most farmers’ outfits are trying to regroup after Prime Minister Narendra Modi withdrew the three farm laws almost an year ago and constituted a committee to resolve issues faced by the farmers.

But a year after, farmers are as dissatisfied as they were in the wake of the enactment of the controversial laws. Some farmers see a ray of hope in Rahul Gandhi who has taken to the streets like the scores of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and UP once did. So much so that some farm leaders from these states in the Hindi belt use a sobriquet like Sadak ka Gandhi for Rahul Gandhi ever since he started his yatra.

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