Maha parties, farmers to intensify stir against farm laws
Mumbai, Jan 22 (IANS) Almost all non-NDA parties have announced plans to intensify the stir against the three new farm laws and participate in the farmers’ long march in Mumbai on January 25 and the massive farmers’ agitation in New Delhi scheduled for January 26, top leaders said here on Friday.
The ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi allies Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress, Communist Party of India (M), Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana besides other political and affiliated farmers’ organisations have thrown their full weight behind the farmers agitating at the Delhi borders.
President of Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swavalamban Mission President Kishore Tiwari — accorded a Minister of State rank — said a 60-member delegation of farmer-widows has already left for Delhi and a second batch was getting ready to leave soon, to demand the total repeal of the three new farm laws.
“The farmer-widows represent the ‘real face’ of the farmers considering the challenges they face, and the delegation which includes Aparna Malikar of the KBC-fame, will recount their travails as they try to survive after their husbands committed suicide,” Tiwari told IANS.
Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar will join a massive ‘long march’ scheduled from Azad Maidan to Raj Bhavan in Mumbai on January 25 with the participation of all non-BJP parties, said party spokesperson Mahesh Tapase.
“Several top farmers’ leaders have met Pawar in New Delhi in the past few days since he has deep knowledge of the issues concerning the agriculture sector and had pioneered the MSP policy when he was the Union Agriculture Minister,” Tapase told IANS.
Senior Congress leader and former minister Naseem Khan, who is coordinator for the farmers’ agitation, said the state party chief Balasaheb Thorat will join the ‘long march’ in Mumbai while the state unit has extended its full support to the ongoing farmers’ protests in Delhi.
The Samyukta Shetkari Kamgar Morcha (SSKM Maharashtra) has announced a series of programmes as part of its ongoing 50-day long agitation in support of the farmers demand for total and unconditional repeal of the three farm laws.
Starting with a tractor and vehicle rally on Saturday, a massive ‘dharna’ on Sunday and a peasants-workers rally to Raj Bhawan to submit a memorandum to the Governor on Monday, the agitation will be capped off by a Republic Day flag hoisting ceremony at Azad Maidan, said All India Kisan Sabha President Dr. Ashok Dhawale.
SSS President Raju Shetti has said that farmers will join the agitation in Mumbai and Delhi over the next three days with a single-point demand “to repeal the three new farm laws in the interests of the nation’s food-creators” and their just demands must be accepted by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government at the Centre.
Similarly, Shiv Sena labour leader Raghunath Kuchik, designated as the Minister of State, has been assigned by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to lead a party farmers’ delegation to Delhi.
OSD Prafful Sarda said the Shiv Sena deputy leader Kuchik is likely to reach the national capital to express the Sena’s full support to the agitating farmers’ demands and also join in the protests.
Khan said the Congress has been protesting against the three farm laws right from the beginning and its senior party leader Rahul Gandhi has also joined the protests in Delhi besides opposing the laws in Parliament.
“We have already carried out a series of successful mass agitations in Maharashtra and other states and the MVA government will not implement these laws in the state. The next three days shall be crucial for the interests of the farming community and their current historic struggle,” Khan told IANS.
Dhawale pointed out that though the Supreme Court has temporarily stayed the implementation of the laws, it formed a four-member commission, of which one person has quit the panel, terming the decision of the SSKM and other farmers’ bodies not to appear before the committee as ‘correct’.
“We have requested the MVA government to convene a special session of the state legislature to discuss the agrarian crisis, adopt a resolution asking the Centre to revoke the three farm laws and four labour codes, and enact a law to ensure the MSP and other demands of the peasantry,” Dhawale said.
Other major organisations joining the agitations planned for the next three days include national or state units of AIKS, Trade Unions Joint Action Committee, Struggle Committee of Mass Movements, Nation For Farmers, Hum Bharat Ke Log besides several NGOs and activist groups.