West UP farmers yet to warm up to BJP even after law repeal

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Farmers from West UP have strongly participated in the agitation at Delhi border and a section of farmers (read Jats) were seemingly angry with BJP when ET had last visited the region almost a month ago. The situation has not changed much after the central government had repealed the three farm laws.

Farmers in Dabathwa, a village in Siwalkhas constituency of Meerut, are preparing for a big joint rally of SP leader Akhilesh Yadav and RLD leader Jayant Chaudhary on Tuesday. “The three farm laws have been taken back only because of the election,” Sunil Chaudhary, 28, told ET. “Even the price of petrol and diesel has been reduced. But it hasn’t changed our mind.”

Ravinder Kumar, a farmer from Simbhalka, another Jat-dominated village in Shamli assembly constituency, said this time he will go with RLD. “The trust has gone and there is no question of going back. Who knows post the election they again bring the bill,” he told ET. Simbhalka has around 4,200 voters with 50% Jat population and the rest are Kshatriya, Muslims and others.

A similar feeling is there among the community at Silawar village in Thana Bhawan assembly seat. “Nothing has changed. Jo tha wahi hai (What was earlier is still there),” Nomit Tarar,32, from Silawar told ET. On the other hand, BJP has been reaching out to the community. ET found a few Jat-dominated villages siding with BJP right from the beginning. On December 3, few BJP leaders visited every house in Bhainsi village in Khatauli assembly constituency of Muzaffarnagar. The preparation was going for the December 5 meeting of Union minister Sanjeev Balyan and West UP BJP president Mohit Beniwal in the village. “We have been with BJP right from the beginning. There are very few Lok Dal voters in this village,” Bijender Pal Singh, a farmer from the village, told ET. “We never participated in farmer agitation as it is being done by some VIP leaders.” “The educated Jats in our village are with the BJP and come what may BJP is going to form the government,” said Vijay Kumar Sharma of Bhainsi.

In Khanpur village near Siwalkhas, there seems to be a difference of opinion among farmers. Majority of the voters in Khanpur are from the Jat community. “The farm laws were wrong and the government has done the right thing by taking them back. But the bigger issue here is law and order,” Kulwinder Chikara, 30, who runs a pesticide shop, told ET. “Earlier during the SP regime, we would withdraw money from the bank at Muslim-dominated Siwalkhas and they would loot us right outside the bank. For us, the bigger question is safety under the BJP government.”

“The votes in the village will be divided among BJP and RLD,” said Sushil Kumar of the village. “The youngsters are angry with the BJP mainly because of job issues.”

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