Historical Muzaffarnagar mahapanachayat sets alarm bells ringing for BJP ahead of Uttar Pradesh elections


Express News Service

Lucknow: The farmers who gathered under Sanyukta Kisan Morcha — the umbrella organisation of 40 different farmers organisations – at mahapanachayat in GIC ground in Muzaffarnagar, western Uttar Pradesh on Sunday, put up an impressive show. They gave the call to oust BJP government from both UP and Uttarakhand in upcoming elections in 2022.

Rummaging through the pages of history of such mahapanchayats from 2003 -2013, an interesting fact emerged which can send jitters to the BJP camp as it is set to try the poll waters in 2022. Whenever such mahapanchayat took place in Muzaffarnagar bringing the farmers associated with Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) together at one platform during previous regimes for whatever be the issue, the incumbent government lost power.

The first such trend was witnessed in way back in 1988 when UP had a Congress dispensation and Vir Bahadur Singh was the Chief Minister. The farmers prepared a 35-point charter of demands seeking regularization of power tariffs alog with proper price for their crops. They called a mahanpanchayat at Sisauli in Muzaffarnagar followed by a similar mahapanchayat in Meerut on January 27, 1988. Then they took their fight to Delhi Boat Club.

Next year in 1989, the consequences of farmers unrest were reflected in the defeat of Congress party UP Assembly elections followed by 1990 Lok Sabha elections as well.

Then on February 4, 2003, the farmers associated with BKU had gathered at the same venue –the GIC ground – against the then Mayawati government protesting the ‘lathicharge’ on Mahendra Singh Tikait, the then BKU chief and father of present BKU spokesman Rakesh Tikait. The lathicharge had taken place at the collectorate of Muzaffarnagar.

In 2002, Mayawati had become UP CM with the BJP support. Equations did not go well between the two parties and Mayawati had to resign in August 2003. Among the reasons for rift between BJP and BSP was the Taj Corridor scandal and the unrest among the farmers because of which the BJP was losing its support among Jats of western UP.

Again on April 8, 2008, BKU called a farmers’ mahapanchayat at GIC gorund in Muzaffarnagar against the arrest of BKU chief Mahendra Singh Tikait in Sisauli in Muzaffarnagar. The farmers resolved to oust Mayawati in the next polls and the BSP was voted out of power in 2012 assembly elections.

After the Kawal incident in the district in August, 2013, BKU spokesperson Rakesh Tikait convened a panchayat at Nangla Mandaud on September 7, 2013. This mahapanchayat was for move to support the jat community in the region than raising farmers’ issues.

But communal tension between hindu Jats and Muslims got flared up in the district after the mahapanchayat and fresh clashes took place which continued till September 17, 2013. However, due to public outrage, especially, that of Jats, the Samajwadi Party lost 2017 UP Assembly elections badly and the BJP government came in the state with a mammoth majority.

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