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Agriculture

After Tikait's Warning, Ajay Mishra Skips Sugar Mill Inauguration Event in Lakhimpur Kheri

During Lucknow's Kisan Mahapanchayat on Monday, BKU leader Rakesh Tikait had said that if Ajay Mishra attended the inauguration, farmers would not deliver any sugarcane to those mills.

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New Delhi: Following farmers’ leader Rakesh Tikait’s warning on Monday, November 22, of an agitation if Union minister Ajay Mishra attends the inauguration of two sugar mills in UP’s Lakhimpur Kheri, Mishra opted to skip Wednesday’s event, the Indian Express reported.

The Kisan Sahkari Chini Mills Limited in Sampurna Nagar and the Sarju Sahkari Chini Mill Limited in Belrayan, both located in UP’s Lakhimpur Kheri district, had invited Mishra, Union minister of state for home affairs, to an event inaugurating the start of the crushing season. 

However, while addressing the kisan mahapanchayat in Lucknow on Monday, Tikait had warned that if Mishra attended the event, “no sugarcane will be taken to that sugar mill”. He noted that, irrespective of the losses they would incur, the farmers would take their sugarcane and dump it at the district magistrate’s office, the New Indian Express reported

Also read: Lucknow Mahapanchayat Shows Farmers’ Problems Are Far From Over

Mishra’s son, Ashish, was allegedly part of the convoy which ran over three farmers at Lakhimpur Kheri on October 3, for which he was arrested on October 10. Since the incident, the minister has been under intense scrutiny from farmers and beyond. 

In fact, one of the six demands made by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) in an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi following the repeal of the farm laws was Ajay Mishra’s removal from the cabinet and arrest.

After Tikait’s warnings at the mahapanchayat, the sugar mills had made changes to their programmes, with the revised versions noting that Kheri DM Mahendra Bahadur would inaugurate the two mills on Wednesday, according to the New Indian Express report.

Along with Ajay Mishra, who was meant to be the chief guest at the event, BJP MLA from Palia Harvinder Kumar Saini was invited to be the ‘special guest’, but he, too, did not attend, claiming that he was busy tending to an accident victim in the district.

Also read: Why the Farmers’ Protest Has the Potential to Challenge BJP’s Hindutva Politics

At the event, even DM Bahadur was not present and the crushing season was inaugurated by additional DM Sanjay Kumar. When he was asked why Ajay Mishra did not attend the event, he said, according to the Indian Express, “He may have had another event. Only he can tell why he did not come.”

The minister’s personal secretary, Amit Mishra, said that he had to attend a Union home ministry event in Ranchi and thus was unable to attend the inauguration of the sugar mills. Similarly, the district’s BJP vice-president said Ajay Mishra could not attend because he had “some other programme” and the secretary of the Kisan Sahkari mill  only said that he had another meeting at the last minute.