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Split in BKU, dissatisfied leaders form new group

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Accusing farmer leaders Rakesh Tikait and his brother Naresh Tikait of indulging in politics against the ethics of their farmers’ organisation, a faction of Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) announced a new organisation Bharatiya Kisan Union (Apolitical) in Lucknow on Sunday.

The major development coincided with the death anniversary of BKU founder Mahendra Singh Tikait (1935-2011). Harnam Singh Verma (Lucknow) Dharmendra Malik (Muzaffarnagar), Digamber Singh (Bijnor), Mangeram Tyagi (Bulandshahr) and Anil Talan are among those who are part of the new organisation.

In new organisation, Rajesh Chauhan has been made its national president and Gathwala Malik Khap’s Choudhary Rajendra Singh Malik would be its patron. Digamber Singh has been made the new organisation’s state youth wing president while Harnam Singh has been appointed the state president. Mangeram Tyagi will be the national vice president and Dharmendra Malik the national spokesperson of BKU (Apolitical).

Speaking over the phone, Harnam Singh Verma questioned the objective and achievement of “Kisan Kranti Yatra” taken out under Rakesh Tikait in 2018 from Haridwar to Ghazipur border in Delhi. He accused Tikait brothers of politicising the organisation which, he claimed, compelled them to form the new organisation. “We will keep raising MSP and other issues of farmers to continue out fight”, Verma said.

On the other hand, BKU leader Rakesh Tikait accused the breakaway group of dividing the organisation “on the directions and under pressure of the ruling party”. He said many leaders had defected from BKU and formed new organisations in the past too but their struggle on issues of farmers would continue. Tikait claimed that Rajesh Chauhan had been included in the new group because the Lucknow office of BKU was in his name and so they (the breakaway group) needed him.

Digamber Singh, a mass farmer leader who was earlier head of BKU’s youth wing, also accused Tikait brothers of politicising the organisation. “We are disciples of Baba (Mahendra Singh) Tikait and will continue our struggle for farmers without indulging in politics,” he said while refuting allegations of Rakesh Tikait that they formed a new body under pressure. “We are farmers and not criminals who will succumb to the pressure of the government,” he said.

Earlier on Saturday, Rakesh Tikait had met a group of these dissatisfied leaders in Lucknow to resolve the issue. The dissatisfied group was supposed to announce their move on Saturday itself but it was put on hold after meeting with Tikait.

On Saturday night, Tikait returned to his home town Sisauli in Muzaffarnagar district. On Sunday, he paid tribute to his father and BKU founder Mahendra Singh Tikait at an event. Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Jayant Chaudhary and deputy CM of Delhi Manish Sisodia also paid their tribute to the stalwart farmer leader who had spearheaded many successful farmer movements.



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