Some 26 years back his father and Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) chief Mahendra Singh Tikait had shaken the then government by amassing lakhs of farmers at the Boat Club in Delhi showing the country the “farmers’ power”.
Though Mahendra tried to make a mark in politics by joining hands with the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), his efforts did not yield positive results.
Five years after his death, Mahendra’s son and BKU national spokesman Rakesh Tikait is now trying his luck from Amroha Lok Sabha constituency on a RLD ticket. Tikait had earlier also contested the Assembly polls from Khatauli seat in 2007 on a Congress ticket but had lost.
This time, however, Tikait is trying to encash on his father’s legacy by seeking votes in his name. He has promised the farmers that he would complete the unfulfilled tasks started by his father.
“I will act as the representative of the farmers in Parliament. I am fully aware of the problems of the farmers,” Tikait has been telling them in his election rallies.
He has also been promising to take up the issue of non-payment of cane dues to the tune thousands of crores by the sugar mills in the state. The cane farmers in the state, especially in the western UP, are sore with the SP regime for for not being able to force the sugar mills to clear the cane dues.
His appeal, however, has not been able to evoke positive response. “Rakesh Tikait has so far not done anything for the farmers... his father was different,” says Anil Baliyan, a young Jat farmer in Amroha. Tikait is also a Jat.
Anil’s remark rings alarm bells for Tikait as he also hails from the same ‘khap’ (Balian) and Tikait was hoping for its support in the polls. The Jat Mahasabha, an organisation of the Jats, however, pledged its support to Tikait after the Centre announced reservation in jobs for the community.
RLD chief Ajit Singh replaced his sitting MP from here Devendra Nagpal and instead opted for Rakesh Tikait to keep his traditional Jat vote bank in the wake of last year’s communal violence in Muzaffarnagar, intact.
A section of the Jats, especially the younger generation, appears to be inclined toward BJP PM candidate Narendra Modi. Any division in the Jat votes would seriously affect Tikait’s chances.