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Rakesh Tikait: Playing Farmer’s Tune?

There is nothing striking about this farmer leader who has kept the Modi government on tenterhooks. It seems like he has deliberately cultivated the image of a rustic leader with a green Kisan cap, accompanied by a green-white gumchha and an unkempt beard. The 51-year old Rakesh Tikait, who holds a Master’s degree from the Meerut University, would definitely know what style is, having served in the Delhi Police department as sub-inspector till 1992 and hailing from a high profile family. He quit police force during the farmers’ agitation at Red Fort in 1993-94 and joined the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) set up by his father Mahendra Singh Tikait, a firebrand farmer leader. Political ambitions took him to contest the assembly elections in 2007 and Lok Sabha in 2014 but he lost both. With the farmers’ agitation regaining momentum (after he broke down on the national television), he has declared the agitation would continue till October 2021. His message to Modi: “We have so far talked about Bill Wapsi (Repealing the three farm laws). What will you do if the youth call for Gaddi Wapsi (removal from power)?” There is a sense of déjà vu listening to this kind of veiled threat.