Rakesh Tikait true patriot: JJP leader Digvijay Chautala

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Chandigarh, Jan 29 (PTI) Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) leader Digvijay Singh Chautala on Friday called farmer leader Rakesh Tikait a “true patriot” and said he has always talked about farmers' interests.

The Delhi Police has registered an FIR against Tikait and others in connection with the violence in the national capital during the farmers’ tractor rally on Republic Day.

“He is the son of country's great farmers’ leader Mahender Singh Tikait. It is wrong to call him anti-national,” Digvijay told reporters.

“He has always talked about farmers' interests. If the government has to take action, it should catch people like (Gurnam Singh) Chaduni, who instigated people. But Rakesh Tikait and farmers are true patriots,” he said referring to Tikiat being booked by the police.

The JJP, an ally of the BJP in Haryana, has been under pressure from a section of farmers and the opposition parties in the state to snap ties with the saffron party and openly stand in support of the peasants who are agitating against the Centre's new farm laws.

Meanwhile, INLD senior leader Abhay Singh Chautala, who has resigned as MLA over the farm laws issue, said he will be going to the Ghazipur protest site on Saturday to express solidarity with Tikait and other farmers there.

He said more farmers from Haryana should join the protest sites at Ghazipur, Tikri and Singhu.

“I want to tell farmers that the government is trying to propagate that this agitation is ending, which is not the case. I appeal to peasants to reach in numbers at Tirki, Singhu and Ghazipur borders. On Saturday, I will be reaching the Ghazipur border in the afternoon…,” Abhay Chautala, son of former Haryana Chief Minister O P Chautala, said.

He said Haryana farmers have always stood solidly behind their counterparts from across the country.

The INLD leader also said former deputy prime minister Chaudhary Devi Lal fought for the rights of farmers throughout his life.

“I call upon all those who are connected with agriculture to rise above petty interests and extend support to peasants. We will together fight for the rights of farmers and support this agitation till the time we force the Centre to repeal these laws,” Abhay Chautala said.

Thousands of farmers have been protesting at Delhi's borders with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh demanding the rollback of the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

The protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that these laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the 'mercy' of big corporations.

However, the government has maintained that the new laws will bring farmers better opportunities and usher in new technologies in agriculture. PTI SUN VSD AQS AQS