Amid efforts to increase political pressure on the central government, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait on Wednesday, 9 June, met West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to seek support for the ongoing farmers’ protest against the three contentious farm laws.
Following the meeting, Tikat said that Banerjee assured him of her support to farmers.
“The Chief Minister assured us that she will continue to support the farmers' movement. We thank her for this assurance. West Bengal should work as a model state and farmers should be given more benefits,” Tikait told ANI.
Tikait said that “the Opposition in the country is weak. We’re sitting on the streets now, had the Opposition been strong, we need not have done that.”
With no resolution in sight to the farmers’ agitation, Tikait talked about strengthening the movement and said, “I met the chief minister and not a party chief. Did I meet the Afghanistan president, for which I had to take the Government of India's permission? Does it require a visa to meet a CM? We'll meet all CMs over state policies. Uttarakhand has BJP government and Punjab has Congress government, we'll meet them too,” ANI reported.
Banerjee, while addressing the media after the meeting, slammed the Centre for suspending talks with the farmers.
“For the last seven months, they (the central government) did not bother to speak to the farmers. I demand that all three farm laws are withdrawn,” Banerjee said.
Ahead of the meeting, BKU General Secretary Yudhvir Singh had told PTI that the meeting’s agenda was to “elicit her support for the movement.”
Tikait’s BKU, along with the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, has been leading the protests against the Centre's three farm laws at the borders of Delhi for over six months with hundreds of farmers stationed at the protest sites.
(With inputs from ANI and PTI.)