In the latest in a series of mahapanchayats against the farm laws organised by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha in Rajasthan this week, several thousands gathered today in Kariri, a Meena stronghold, in the state’s Karauli district. The massive gathering sat directly under the sun for the whole day, to listen to the farm leader Rakesh Tikait. “The fight about the MSP, it is about farmers,” he told the crowd, which had taken over the slopes of a hill edging the venue. “It has nothing to do with your caste.” The Meena community is notified as a Scheduled Tribe in the state, and the gathering indicated that the opposition to the farm laws is consistent across the caste spectrum in the agrarian region of the state.
However, there was no love felt in the crowd for leaders other than Tikait. The activist and politician Yogendra Yadav had to be introduced as the “greatest think tank on farm laws,” but still received a lukewarm response from the audience, who seemed only mildly interested. The farmer leader Amra Ram, who was the star of the show at a mahapanchayat held two days earlier in Sikar, was booed off stage before the moderator came to his rescue. He spoke, but even his cry for slogans was met with a terse silence. Ram and Rajaram Meel, both Jat leaders, spoke for less than a minute combined.