Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait, who has been leading the farmers' protest in the outskirts of the national capital for the past 10 months, said that he is certain that Monday's Bharat Bandh will compel the Centre to listen to the voices of farmers.
Speaking with IANS, Tikait said, "We are hopeful that this time (Bharat Bandh) the government will listen to our demands."
Denying that farmers only from western Uttar Pradesh were participating in the protest, therefore, the farmers' protest will not be an issue in the 2022 Assembly elections, he said, "Farmers from all over India are with us", adding that this movement was not just restricted to any one region.
Tikait further said, "No matter how long we have to stretch this protest, we will not step back."
Farmers mainly from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have been protesting against the three contentious farm laws introduced by the Centre almost a year ago. Having borne the harsh cold, sultry heat, heavy rainfall, farmers, who have been camping outside of Delhi-Haryana and Delhi-Uttar Pradesh borders, are ready to stay as long as it is needed. "Ruk jayenge 10 mahine aur (will stay for 10 more months)," said Tikait.
This is the third Bharat Bandh since the three agricultural laws were passed by Parliament.
He also said that the success of Bharat Bandh depends on the media as well. "If they'll cover it properly and show everything that has been happening on the ground then this Bharat Bandh will be a success, otherwise not," Tikait said.
"As far as the government is concerned, they will say whatever suits their narrative and benefits them the most," the farmer union leader said.
He further said that he did not think that this Bharat Bandh will affect people's daily life, "People are disturbed with the rising inflation and prices of petrol and diesel. That is bothering them the most. This one-day deal is nothing in comparison to what problems the masses have been facing in their daily lives."
Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president Anil Chaudhary visited the protest site at Ghazipur border to show solidarity with the farmers. He and Rakesh Tikait had a small talk over snacks.