In recent times, he is cashing in on his growing popularity on the ground as well as on social media. People have a sense of sympathy for Tikait and are also beginning to perceive him as the farmer leader for the future.
This month, Rakesh Tikait will hold panchayats in states as far-flung as Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. He has already held Kisan Panchayats at Charkhi Dadri, Jind, Baghpat and Kurukshetra around Delhi, but his popularity has increased so much that panchayats across the country have begun calling him to their villages.
In the next few days, too, people want to call Tikait at their panchayats, but he has not accepted everybody’s invitation. So, for the next few days he has decided not to visit any panchayats.
His popularity has grown to such an extent that these days Tikait is seen more at panchayats than at the Ghazipur border, the hub of the farm agitation.
In the month of February itself, he is likely to visit than two dozen farmer panchayats across Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra, since he wants to give a national dimension to the protests.
Not just has Tikait grown in popularity among farmers in recent times, he has gained a lot of new followers on social media as well.
In fact, the tears from Tikait’s eyes on January 27 not just revived the farmers’ agitation they also sent his popularity soaring on social media.
Around Republic Day on January 26, he had about 4,000 followers on Twitter. But a few days ago, since his account was verified, the number of followers has risen to about 1.5 lakh. His Facebook page posts reach about three crore people. Seeing the public’s love for Tikait, his colleagues had to create an Instagram account, which has gained about 45,000 followers in just a few days.
Bharatiya Kisan Union media in-charge Dharmendra Malik told IANS, “He had about 3 to 4 thousand followers at the time the agitation started, but now millions of people are following him on social media.”
He further said, “About 10 days ago, an Instagram account was created for him, which is being followed by about 45,000 people. ”
Although Tikait’s social media accounts are handled by different people, in view of the growing popularity, the posts have become more frequent and every speech from his social media account goes live.
Plus, wherever Rakesh Tikait goes, he is surrounded by those seeking selfies.