Punjab farmers protesting in Delhi’s Burari area against the farm laws passed by the Centre in September refused to accept the hospitality of political parties. To keep their movement apolitical, they boycotted tents and food stalls set up by political parties.
At a food stall set up by the Aam Aadmi Party, none of those enjoying free meals were farmers. Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s party has arranged breakfast, lunch and dinner for about 1,000 people.
Vikas Yadav, AAP worker and in-charge of the food stall, told India Today TV, “We are providing good-quality food. We are feeding 700 people daily. We have removed party banners to send out a message to the farmers that we are doing service and not politics.”
But the mouth-watering pakoras at the stall were consumed by caretakers and security staff as farmers boycotted the Aam Aadmi Party food stall.
Kisan Rasoi or farmers’ kitchen set up by the Congress and the Akali Dal-backed Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee’s langar have also been boycotted by farmers.
India Today TV met a group of farmers from Mansa, Punjab, which has been camping in Burari for five days.
They were preparing aloo-gobhi for dinner.
Jagwant Singh, a farmer from Mansa, told India Today TV, “We don’t want any favour from politicians, be it Congress, AAP or Akali Dali. This is our fight and we will win it on our own.”
Just like food stalls, the tents set up by Kejriwal’s government had no takers. Only a handful of farmers were using them.
Most preferred their tractor trollies to rest and spend nights.
Charanjit Singh, a farmer from Faridkot, Punjab, said, “We have come here just to prove Haryana CM ML Khattar wrong. He will not let us enter Delhi. We are waiting for a message from our leaders at Singhu Border to seize Delhi if talks fail.”
While farmers from Punjab and Haryana refused to come to Burari, those from UP and Uttarakhand who accepted the Center’s condition for talks, are feeling cheated now.
VM Singh, Convener, All India Kisan Coordination Committee, told India Today TV, “We came to Burari, but look what the Home Minister has done. He didn’t even invite farmer representatives from UP and Uttarakhand. It seems the government only gives in to the demands of those who block traffic. We will also do so now.”
Farmers at the Burari protest site have been peaceful and are now waiting for the outcome of the second round of talks with the Centre, but they too are running out of patience.