Farmers protesting the three farm sector laws have accused the Centre of being insensitive towards them. The farmers have been camping along the borders of Delhi since 26 November, demanding that the three laws be withdrawn.

“The Centre has not talked to the protesting farmers since 22 January, after the 11 rounds of talks. Tens of thousands of farmers have been sitting on Delhi’s borders since 26 November. Around 300 farmers have been martyred in the struggle. We respect the Prime Minister, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi should act like a Prime Minister, not like a party leader. He is not the Prime Minister of the BJP, but the Prime Minister of the nation. He is least bothered about the plight of the farmers. The Centre has been insensitive towards the farmers,” a member of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), Guramneet Singh Mangat, said here today.

The Morcha, an umbrella organisation of protesting farm unions, along with the Bharatiya Kisan Morcha, Ganna Kisan Sangharsh Samity (constituents of the SKM) and other farm unions, are campaigning in poll-bound states and appealing to the people, including farmers, students and civil society to not vote for the BJP in the Assembly elections. However, they are not campaigning for any political party, they have said.

“Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath held some pre-election rallies in West Bengal, seeking votes for the BJP. But back in the state, law and order and safety of women are in a shambles. The unemployment rate is high. The farmers are facing enormous problems in Madhya Pradesh. Will the people here want the same government to come to the power?” said Mr Mangat, a farmer based in Uttar Pradesh.

The SKM has campaigned in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Assam and West Bengal–Kolkata, Asansol, Singur, Nandigram, Sitalkuchi, Mathabhanga and Siliguri.  The protest leaders said that the Centre will be compelled to abrogate the farm laws if the BJP was defeated in the elections.

Tejveer Singh, the youth wing spokesperson of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Chaduni), Haryana, said that Bengal and Punjab had contributed immensely during the Independence movement.

“Similar response is required for freedom from corporate exploitation. PM Narendra Modi called the agitators as andolanjeevi, parasites, while disregarding the movement against the new farm laws since June last year,” Mr Singh said.

Mr Mangat and the president of the Ganna Kisan Sangharsh Samity, Vinod Kumar Rana, said the farmers will hold a road blockade on the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal (KMP) expressway on 10 April, and are planning for the peaceful march to Parliament in May. The farm leaders addressed a gathering of civil society organised by the Fasibadi Birodhi Nagarik Mancha in Siliguri yesterday.