RLD's series of farmer panchayats begins tomorrow

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Noida (UP), Feb 4 (PTI) Rashtriya Lok Dal's series of farmer panchayats, which will take place in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, begins on Friday over the protest against new agriculture laws, party leader Jayant Chaudhary said on Thursday.

The RLD vice president asserted that the Centre needed to know the farmers' stir was a 'broad-gauge' movement and politicians had a responsibility to sensitise people about the issue.

Earlier on Thursday, he visited Dibdiba village in Rampur district of western Uttar Pradesh to pay his respects to farmer Navreet Singh, who died during the January 26 violence in Delhi where he was participating in the protests.

The RLD has already extended support to the demonstrations at Delhi's borders and in parts of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan.

The party's farmer outreach programmes will begin on Friday from Shamli and are scheduled in Amroha, Aligarh, Bulandshahr, Mathura, Agra, Hathras, Pilibhit in Uttar Pradesh and a couple of them in Rajasthan till February end.

'The idea behind these 'kisan panchayats' is to show the government that it is a broad-gauge movement and political parties also have a role in it by reaching out to farmers and sensitising other people about the issue,' Chaudhary told PTI.

Asked about his visit to Rampur, Chaudhary said he had gone to pay his respects to Singh.

Chaudhary said he interacted with Singh's grandfather, who told him that his grandson had 'sacrificed' his life for a bigger cause of the farming community.

'His grandfather told me: 'Our Navreet has lost his life not for any caste or religion, but for a bigger cause of the farmers',' the former MP said. 'It was a brave and courageous thing for him to say this and we must respect the sentiment.' The RLD, which had won only one seat in the last assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh in 2017, has backed the Bharatiya Kisan Union, which is protesting against the new agri-marketing laws, with Chaudhary attending a couple of 'mahapanchayats' held recently in western part of the state.

Thousands of farmers are camping at Delhi's borders since November-end with a demand that three new agri-marketing laws be repealed and minimum support price for crops guaranteed, even as the government maintained that the legislations enacted in September were pro-farmer.

The protests have spiralled to other nearby states as well, with protesting farmers union calling for blockading of roads from noon to 3 pm on Saturday. PTI KIS HMB