“The Chief Minister informed that it was the maximum SAP which could be given. We farmers can only trust,” Tikait said after the meeting. The BKU had initially said that the SAP was inadequate and organised protests.
Harinam Singh, Lucknow district unit president of BKU, stated that there will not be any more agitations on the issue of sugarcane price. Singh was in the forefront when sugarcane was burnt outside the Vidhan Sabha during the winter session of the Assembly. “We are satisfied and our president has asked us not to stage any agitation,” Harinam added.
The Chief Minister assured Tikait that cases slapped on farmers during their recent agitation at toll plazas in western UP will be revoked. “District officials of Muzaffarnagar and Meerut were present at the meeting and the CM directed them to take action for revoking the case,” he added.
The BKU had seized the Siwaya Toll Plaza in Meerut for 37 days and lifted the dharna at the intervention of the Chief Minister on December 6. It wanted that no toll should be charged from farmers. “It has been made toll-free for farmers, no toll is collected from farmers moving on tractors with their trolleys. They can also use the link road. The issue has been resolved,” Tikait stated.
Tikait handed over a 15-point memorandum to Akhilesh, the main demands being increasing the purview of the state government’s loan waiver to include loans taken from nationalised and co-operative banks, inclusion of farmers owning up to 2 acre holdings in BPL list, and scrapping of the limit of 7.5 HP on agricultural power connections. The state government had made elaborate arrangements for Tikait’s visit and he was given accomodation in the VVIP Guest House. Meerut and Muzaffarnagar DM and SSP had been summoned and an official accompanied Tikait to the CM’s residence where the meeting was held.
The generosity shown by the government was in sharp contrast to the Chief Minister’s refusal to meet Naresh’s younger brother Rakesh Tikait, when he had visited Lucknow to invite him for the unveiling of his late father Mahendra Singh Tikait’s statue in Sisauli on 6 October.