Bhartiya Kisan Union leader in conversation with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now
GN Bureau | January 7, 2022
Calling Asaduddin Owaisi, president of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, a part of BJP, Rakesh Tikait, leader of Bharatiya Kisan Union, has said that he (Owaisi) is not BJP’s team B but rather its team A.
“Owaisi is not team B of BJP, but Owaisi is team A. They take different classes during the day but take tuitions (for political science) in the same place at night.”
Tikait was in a conversation with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now, and responding to a question on the farmer leader calling Owaisi a spoilsport in north India.
Tikait said that BKU is also a social organisation and Owaisi’s provocative statements are meant to create divisions in the country. “He is speaking the language of BJP... to break the country... the policy of the government... to garner votes is a different policy….to count Hindu, Muslim votes… he completely supports them.... this means he has full freedom to make provocative speeches, make divisive speeches that separate the ratio of 80 and 20.”
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He was speaking during a webcast as part of the Visionary Talk series held by the public policy and governance analysis platform.
Speaking on the security breach of prime minister Narendra Modi in Punjab on Wednesday, Tikait said, “This is politics of votes.” He asked if the prime minister has ever traveled by road 130 km for any program in the last seven years. He said even from a security perspective, no PM travels 130 km, but takes a helicopter to travel to airport.
“The PM should not travel 130 km by road. This is the view of everyone. Even in Lucknow, the CM travels on a helicopter to take connecting flights.”
The Kisan leader added that the Punjab government too failed to provide security to the PM in an emergency situation. “The PM does not belong to any party when he is traveling in a region... why did the farmers block the road? He (PM) could have spoken to them… there was time for 1-1.15 hours... he could have spoken to them and addressed the issue… whatever happened was wrong and not in the interest of the country.”
Responding to a question on what was wrong with the three farm laws that the government was forced to repeal, Tikait said, earlier the farmer had the freedom to sell their produce anywhere but the repealed laws bound him to certain avenues only where his produce does not sell. He said the laws were brought in to benefit corporates who would hold the produce in cold storage or warehouse and sell it when the prices shoot up.
“This benefits the businessman and corporates. To the farmer, you give MSP (minimum support price). You will not make a law that guarantees MSP. There is an MSP scam of Rs 3 lakh crore today in the country... If all crops in the country are bought as per MSP it gets revenue of Rs approximately 12 lakh crore...”
“The farmers consume produce worth Rs 4 lakh crore for their own food, cattle, seeds and some goes waste. There is balance of Rs 8 lakh crore worth of produce if you buy on MSP. Approximately Rs 4 lakh crore produce is purchased on MSP by GoI... A businessman who buys produce at cheap rates and sells at higher prices (MSP)... he first sells it to the government where government officials, corporates, politicians, businessmen and middlemen buy these crops and swindle almost Rs 1.5 lakh crore which is a loss to the farmer... the farmers will get some money but the produce which is brought at lower rate sets them back by Rs 1.5 lakh crore … if MSP law is brought in this Rs 1.5 lakh crore will go to farmers’ accounts. The remaining Rs 4 lakh crore of produce is sold in the market at lower rates and resold to the consumer at higher rates. This is another Rs 1.5 lakh crore. The MSP law will get the farmers Rs 3 lakh crore which is taken away by market forces and not by the government. The government will instead get tax. This Rs 3 lakh crore he will use to run his business, circulate it in economy. If this money goes to industry, it will be dumped in a single place.”
Tikait added that the government did not even bring up the topic of 23 crops, fruits and vegetables raised by the farmers. He said the government should implement recommendations of the MS Swaminathan committee report and the C2 +50% formula.
He added their issue is with the government and not with any party.
On FTA with Australia and other nations, Tikait said it will push farmers to poverty. While speaking on farmers’ suicides, he said to save farmers the government should provide direct subsidies to them per acre. “As compared to price increases in the market and economy, prices of crops did not go up. If the government cannot increase the rates and has to control them it should provide the gap to the farmers per acre,” he said.
Tikait also said that the law must provide landholding rights to women farmers which will be good for society and economy.
On being asked to respond to the economist Vijay Sardana’s comment during an earlier episode of Governance Now Visionary Talk where he said that farmers’ agitation was a hidden conspiracy, Tikait said they can try holding a national agitation for 13 months with people living out on roads to get the experience.
“This is a big plan to grab and sell farmers land by the government which the farmers have now understood. We will not allow our land to be sold. We will save our lands. People of this country have understood that big companies are coming into the food sector and trying to grab our land,” he said.
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