As the farmers’ agitation entered its 100th day on Friday, apprehensions on the continuity of the stir has started to emerge with no clarity from the movement’s leaders on a concrete future plan of action in the coming days. With no indications of talks with the Centre either, farmer unions are facing a stiff challenge in keeping up the morale of the agitating ryots.
Having staved off extreme cold weather conditions, the farmers are now bracing up for extreme summer. Also, the ensuing harvesting season has made staying put at the dharna sites a difficult proposition. What has made matters worse is no clarity on future court of action. The unions have given a call for an agitation on International Women’s Day, but a long-term plan seems to be elusive as of now.
Despite assertion by the unions to the contrary, the number of protestors at Singhu and Ghazipur borders have fallen lately. Also, as highlighted by News18 in earlier stories, differences between moderate and hardline elements within the farmer unions have only added to the confusion.
Haryana’s farmer leader Gurnam Singh Charuni, one of the prominent faces of the Samyukt Kissan Ekta Morcha, said, “We have not been able to arrive at any substantive plan when it comes to taking the agitation forward. We are holding mahapanchayats, mobilising support, blocking roads, but the Centre does not seem to care. We are repeating what we have already done and we do not have a plan right now. This, however, does not mean that we will not come up with a strategy soon.”
He said that on International Women’s Day on Monday, women will take the centrestage and then there are announcements of a five-hour blockade of highways.
Another Punjab leader spearheading the agitation, Balbir Singh Rajwal, said, “With summer and harvest season approaching, it would mean the numbers would be dwindling at the protest sites.” He said most of the farmers in the agitation at Singhu and Tikri borders are at present putting up in trolleys and it would be difficult for them to continue in this similar manner.
“The 100-day-old movement will continue. We have already sent across messages to village heads to ensure they send one member from every family to keep the protest alive and the site vibrant. With the harvesting season approaching, we want only representative groups of farmers to be present, as harvest work too is important and people are required there,” Rajewal said.