MEERUT In the coming months, western Uttar Pradesh is expected to experience a standoff between the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) led by the Tikait brothers and its splinter group.
Both parties have already started to muscle up and the Sarv Khap Panchayat offered on Sunday in Kakda village of Muzaffarnagar district will see the demonstration of the might of the Tikait brothers.
Naresh Tikait, the eldest son of loyal farmer leader Mahendra Singh Tikait, had taken over the BKU after his father’s death in May 2011. Being the eldest son, he was also crowned Choudhary of Baliyan Khap, who is one of the most great Khaps with clan members. in 84 municipalities.
Another great Khap is Gathwala or Malik Khap, which is led by Rajendra Singh Malik. This Khap also has members in 84 villages.
Besides these two, there are more than two dozen Khaps from different communities. The Khaps guide people on social matters, so their Choudhary (chief) and Thambedar (regional chief) command special respect in their own clan as well as other clans.
These Khap Choudharies occasionally convene meetings to discuss social issues and give direction against social evils. Sometimes Sarv Khap (all Khaps) meetings are also held to discuss broader issues.
The Khaps played a vital role in Haryana and western UP during the farmers’ movement which lasted 13 months. They lent their support to the movement and helped organize food and other things for the protesting farmers.
Sarv Khap General Secretary Subhash Baliyan frankly admitted that efforts were now being made to create differences between the Khaps and the weak farmers because the Khaps were mainly active in rural areas and most of the villagers were associated with them.
He said the Kakda village panchayat was mainly organized to tell people how plots were being hatched to weaken the Khaps by creating differences between the Choudharies and the Thambedars. “The controversies and differences between the Khap leaders would ultimately have a negative impact on the farmers’ unity and their movement,” Baliyan said. The Kakda panchayat would alert Khap Choudharies and Thambedars to understand the evil policy being carried out against the Khaps and they would be requested to maintain respect for each other and maintain the unity of the Khaps.
During the farmers’ movement, when the Khaps caused a stir, the ruling party ordered its leaders and ministers to meet with the Choudharies and explain the government’s position on the farm bills. But most Khap choudharies remained skeptical, and in many places BJP ministers and leaders faced popular anger over the deaths of farmers during the protest.
Meanwhile, differences between Choudhary of Gathwala Khap Rajendra Singh Malik and Baliyan Khap leader Naresh Tikait have also surfaced. Tikait encountered the first during preparations for the panchayat proposed by Sanyukt Kisan Morcha in Muzaffarnagar on September 5, but things remained unchanged. However, Malik Khap’s thambedars supported Tikait and also participated in the panchayat.
Baba Shyam Singh from Bahadi village in Muzaffarnagar, an influential Thambedar from 12 villages of Malik Khap, criticized his Choudhary Rajendra Singh Malik while talking to HT on the phone. He said, “He has lost his credibility” and claimed that Malik Khap’s 7 thambedars would attend the Sarv Khap Panchayat in Kakda.
The BKU splinter group, which formed a new team called BKU (apolitical), named Rajendra Singh Malik its boss and chairman.
Baba Shayam Singh accused him of not consulting any thambedar before accepting the post in the splinter group. He also said that there was a policy to weaken the Khaps by creating differences between the Khap Choudharies. “But we will foil the attempts of those behind this,” he said.
Former MP and Samajwadi party leader Harendra Malik also said that after creating differences between communities through fierce riots in September 2013 in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts, there is now a dirty politics for weaken the Khaps. “The Khaps have always worked as the backbone of the farmers’ movements and any dilution of their strength would have a negative impact,” said Malik who said people would stick with the Tikait brothers because the family had a history of fight for farmers’ problems.
In the meantime, Rajendra Singh of Union Azad Kisan announced his organization’s merger into the BKU in the presence of Naresh Tikait who said it would further strengthen the BKU. Addressing a rally, Naresh Tikait again accused the leaders of the splinter group of working at the behest of the ruling party and said, “They split up and formed a new organization with the support of the ruling party.” .
BKU district chairman in Muzaffarnagar, Yogesh Sharma, also accused opponents of working at the ruling party’s behest to drive a wedge among farmers after a successful move that forced the union government to repeal the laws controversial agriculture. He said people would give them appropriate response through Sarv Khap Panchayat in Kakda.
On the other hand, Choudhary Rajendra Singh Malik of Malik Khap continued his attack on Naresh Tikait. Interacting with reporters in Shamli recently, he accused the Tikait brothers of indulging in politics and asked, “How can the formation of a new organization be an attempt to insult the leader of Baliyan Khap? Why did they ask people to boycott Labor Minister Sanjeev Baliyan? Wasn’t he from Baliyan Khap? “.