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Farmer leader Tikait dies
Published on 15 May. 2011 11:06 PM IST
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Mahendra Singh Tikait, prominent north Indian farmer leader and founder president of Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), died here Sunday morning, his family said. He was 76.
Mahendra Singh Tikait was suffering from bone cancer. The end came at his son Rajesh Tikait’s residence here.
Thousands of farmers, politicians and social workers paid their homage to Mahendra Singh Tikait, who enjoyed a strong following in this region.
According to his son Rajesh, Mahendra Singh Tikait’s “body will be carried to his native village Sisauli around 4 p.m. and the funeral will take place on Monday at 11 a.m.”
Born Oct 6, 1935, Mahendra Singh Tikait emerged as a powerful farmer leader in the agriculturally rich western Uttar Pradesh in 1987 when he raised his voice for the cause of sugarcane growers.
Eventually, he was called by then Uttar Pradesh chief minister Narain Dutt Tiwari for talks, which resolved the crisis.
His last formidable show of strength came in 2010, when he staged a massive panchayat in Muzaffarnagar to oppose moves in favour of intra-gotra (sub-caste) marriages.
The farmer community, largely dominated by Jats in western Uttar Pradesh, is deeply wedded to their age old social tradition of not allowing marriages within the same gotra of a particular caste.
Tikait had powerful influence across the country: PM
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has condoled the death Sunday of Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) founder Mahendra Singh Tikait, decribing him as a “fiercely independent man” whose work had a powerful influence across the country.Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar also condoled Tikait’s demise.
“Chaudhary Tikait’s commitment to the welfare of farmers and to rural India was deep and unswerving. His work was a powerful influence across the country and inspired the formation of many other organisations devoted to the cause of farmers,” the prime minister said in his condolence message to Tikait’s eldest son Naresh Pal Tikait.
“Chaudhary Tikait was a fiercely independent man who resisted the pull of politics all his life. His work, his courage of conviction and his simplicity made him a unique leader who will be deeply missed in the years ahead,” he added.
The prime minister prayed for peace of the departed soul and offered his condolences to Tikait’s family, friends and followers.
In his condolence message, Pawar said that interests of the farming community were close to the heart of the “popular kisan leader and he always stood with the farmers on all issues concerning them”.
“We will be deprived of his valuable advice and views on matters relating to agriculture,” Pawar said.

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