Tribune News Service
Sonepat, September 12
With a large number of Punjab and Haryana farmers returning to their villages to check their paddy crop before harvesting, crowds have been thinning fast at the protest sites on the Delhi border.
Intelligence sources said the numbers at Singhu and Tikri, the epicentre of protests against the farm laws on the Haryana-Delhi border, had fallen considerably over the past few days. The leaders of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of 32 farm unions spearheading the protest, however, called it a temporary decline. “The farmers have gone home to take care of their paddy crop. They will start returning in a week,” claimed Harinder Singh Lakhowal, BKU (Lakhowal) general secretary.
SKM leader Yogendra Yadav too called it an agriculture-based phenomenon. “They will be back soon. Moreover, our focus is on making the September 27 Bharat Bandh successful and streamlining campaign for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly poll,” maintained Yadav. Another union leader said nonetheless, they would plan a fresh strategy to revitalise the agitation, which will complete 10 months later this month.
Sources said besides paddy, the thinning crowds could be attributed to “non-availability” of senior leaders at the protest sites. The veterans, the sources said, remained occupied with Muzaffarnagar ‘kisan mahapanchayat’ and the Karnal sit-in over the past fortnight while others were busy planning a strategy for the Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand Assembly elections.
The Samyukt Kisan Morcha leaders last week asked the top politicians of various parties in Punjab to defer their political functions till the Assembly elections were announced so as to retain crowds at the protest sites. Besides, the morcha has asked its top leaders to convince more farmers to move to the Delhi border.