Over one lakh farmers and farm labourers attended the Mazdoor Kisan Ekta Maha rally at Punjab’s Barnala city to protest the Narendra Modi government’s 2020 farm laws. It was organised by the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan)—the largest by far of the many farmers’ unions protesting the laws. The Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union, an organisation representing landless farm labourers was prominent at the rally. Both labourers and farmers came from across the Malwa region—including the districts of Barnala, Sangrur, Sri Muktsar Sahib, Bathinda, Faridkot, Mansa and Ludhiana. The rally was meant to build solidarity between landowning farmers and farm labourers, whose unity, several speakers at the rally said, the government was attempting to break.
Prominent farmer leaders including the BKU (EU)’s Joginder Singh Ugrahan and Harinder Bindu; Lachhman Singh Sewewala, the general secretary of PKMU; Balbir Singh Rajewal, who heads the BKU (Rajewal); and Ruldu Singh, who heads the Punjab Kisan Sabha, joined the rally. Ugrahan leads the sit-in protest at the Tikri border site, while Rajewal represents the largest union at the Singhu border protest site. Thousands of women and children also joined the rally which was at the largest foodgrain mandi in Barnala.