New Delhi: A doctor, a retired teacher, an ex-army man, a former Delhi police constable… these are among the people who guided and shaped the nationwide movement against against the three agri laws which the government agreed to repeal on Friday after more than a year of protests.

Here are some of the key farmer leaders who fronted the protests:

Tikait had wept at the Ghazipur border while talking about the farmers’ protests after the January 26 violence Credit: Twitter image (@VikashKumarMar2)

Once a Delhi Police constable, Tikait has played a key role in negotiations with the government. The 52-year-old tried his hand at electoral politics and has been a farmer leader with the BKU for years. He broke out of the confines of western Uttar Pradesh to find a space in the national spotlight during the farmers protest. The watershed moment came when he broke down while talking to reporters after the Republic Day violence in Delhi, striking a deep emotional chord and also pumping new energy into the protests.

  • DARSHAN PAL, member, working group, All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee

An MBBS doctor, 70-year-old Pal has been very active in talks with central and state leaders over the farm laws. He played a crucial role in bringing farmer unions together and performed the role of coordinator in the talks. He also played a pivotal role in taking the agitation beyond Punjab to farmers in other states of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.

Also read: Farmers suffering, govt is nowhere, say Meghalaya MLAs

  • JOGINDER SINGH UGRAHAN, president, BKU (Ugrahan)

The ex-Army man, viewed as one of the more popular farm leaders, belongs to a farming family of Sunam. He has been a frontrunner in the movement with his team behind some aggressive aspects of the protests in Punjab, including the Rail Roko agitation and the ‘gheraoing’ of BJP leaders. While most farmer unions were protesting at Singhu border, his union almost single-handedly held fort at the Tikri border.

  • BALBIR SINGH RAJEWAL, president, BKU

His skilful articulation of the farmers’ viewpoint played a key role during talks with central ministers. The 78-year-old was one of the main leaders during the meetings of the 31 unions in planning and implementing their protests. He was also the brain behind preparing the protest’s demand charter.

  • HANNAN MOLLAH, CPI(M) politburo member and general secretary of the All India Kisan Sabha

The 75-year-old has been a constant voice demanding the repeal of the farm laws during the protests. He has maintained that the protests will continue till the laws are repealed through a process in Parliament. Mollah has also stood for enactment of legal entitlement for the farmers to sell at MSP and believes that the struggle will continue to achieve this goal.

  • GURNAM SINGH CHADUNI, president, BKU, Haryana

Credited with mobilising farmers before the three farm laws were passed, 65-year-old Chaduni led many successful agitations earlier and has adopted unique ways to protest, including shirtless marches and throwing potatoes on state highways. It was on Chaduni’s call that protesters tried to make their way to a BJP event in Karnal, attended among others by Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar. The crackdown that followed left several farmers injured and put the Khattar government on the backfoot.

  • SUKHDEV SINGH KOKRIKALAN, general secretary; BKU, Ugrahan

A retired school teacher, the now 71-year-old farmer leader Kokrikalan has been at the forefront against confrontation with police during the Delhi Chalo agitation.

The government and unions have held 11 rounds of talks, the last being on January 22, to break the deadlock and end the farmers’ protest. Talks have not resumed following widespread violence during a tractor rally by protesting farmers on January 26.

From the government’s side, the negotiations with the farmers were led by three Union ministers:

  • UNION AGRICULTURE MINISTER NARENDRA SINGH TOMAR

He had been participating in talks with farmers and, on several occasions, appealed to them to withdraw their protests over the three farm laws, saying they are in favour of farmers.

  • COMMERCE AND CONSUMER AFFAIRS AND FOOD AND PUBLIC DISTRIBUTION MINISTER PIYUSH GOYAL

The Union minister was at the forefront of the talks and has described the laws as pro-farmers on several occasions and sought a resolution through dialogue.

  • MINISTER OF STATE FOR COMMERCE SOM PARKASH

He participated in talks with the farmers, maintaining that the government enacted the laws keeping in view the interest of the whole country.

  • SAD PRESIDENT SUKHBIR SINGH BADAL

The logjam over farm laws also turned one of BJP’s oldest and closest allies Akali Dal against them. Badal announced from the floor of the Parliament that his wife Harsimrat Badal would resign against the farm bills, tabled in Parliament by the Centre for passage.

In his speech during a discussion on two of the farm bills Badal said the proposed laws will “destroy” the 50 years of hard work put in by successive Punjab governments and farmers to build the agriculture sector.Soon after, Harsimrat Badal who held the post of Union Cabinet Minister of Food Processing Industries, quit in protest.

Also read: Meghalaya: CM Sangma launches FOCUS programme for farmers



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