Opposition comes out in support of Tikait

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Lucknow, Apr 1 (UNI) The opposition parties in Uttar Pradesh today denounced the steps taken by the Mayawati government to arrest Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Mahendra Singh Tikait, terming them ''unjust'' to farmers.

While the Samajwadi Party (SP) termed the action anti-farmer, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said the state government was trying to ''arrest the freedom'' of a person.

Even as the Uttar Pradesh police was leaving no stone unturned to arrest Tikait for using objectionable langugage against the Chief Minister, the Mulayam Singh Yadav-led SP has come out in an open support of the BKU leader, saying the party had always supported the cause of farmers.

''Whatever Tikait said was a harmless remark and his statement was construed as objectionable due to tone of his rural dialect,'' SP Acting State President Shivpal Singh Yadav had said yesterday.

''If cases are registered against speakers on the basis of political reasons, Mayawati should be booked the most for using objectionable language quite often,'' he underlined.

Meanwhile, UP BJP chief Dr Ramapati Ram Tripathi said BKU leader had not said anything in the manner it was being projected by the government which had created unnecessary terror among the villagers and poor farmers.

The SP is the second major political party after Ajit Singh-led Rashtriya Lok Dal(RLD) to come out in support of the BKU leader.

Apna Dal's national President Dr Sone Lal Patel had also condemned the UP government's action against farmers and announced to stage a dharna in protest.

UNI ATI RR DB1820

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