Is the nationwide farmers’ protest 'politically motivated'?
New Delhi, June 2: On Friday, farmers in several states of the country started their 10-day-long strike which saw the protesters throwing their agricultural produce including milk on roads. The main demands of the agitating farmers are complete loan waiver, minimum support price for their produce and an assurance of permanent minimum income from the government, to name a few.
The farmers' agitation in seven states--Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh--has been spearheaded by the Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh (RKM)--a conglomeration of 130 farmers' organisations across the country.
The protesters have threatened to stop the supply of pulses, rice, vegetables and dairy products to various cities of the country for 10 days raising fear for scarcity of food items in the country.
The RKM has stated that the protest will be peaceful and the protesters won't block roads, but farmers will stage dharnas on at least 30 highways in the country. The farmers' agitation continued for a second day on Saturday and likely to proceed in the coming days as the ruling Narendra Modi government at the Centre seems to be in no mood to talk to the protesters and come to a settlement.
The whole protest has taken a political colour now, as the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress accused each other of being responsible for the farm crisis in the country.
In Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh on Thursday, Union home minister Rajnath Singh alleged that the farmers' agitation was an agitation of the Congress. "The BJP government in the state is working for the welfare of farmers and it has taken several big decisions in their interest," he added.
Denying the allegations, newly appointed Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kamal Nath said it's surprising that those who ordered firing at the farmers are now trying to shift the blame for violence on our party.
Last year, a farmers' protest in Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh turned violent which led to the killing of seven farmers by the police. The farmers were protesting to demand better prices for their crops and loan waiver.
The 10-day-long ongoing farmers' agitation has been hosted to mark the first anniversary of killing of farmers in Mandsaur on June 6 last year. On Saturday, Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar dubbed the farmers' protest as "unnecessary".
"They don't have any issues. They are just focusing on unnecessary things. They are not selling produce and this will bring losses to them," the CM said.
Balkrishna Patidar, Madhya Pradesh minister for agriculture, said, "Today is June 2, where is the strike happening? No farmers are participating in the strike. Farmers are happy with the schemes the CM has launched for them. They have faith that the state and the central government will solve their problems."
Since the last year, the Modi government is facing the ire of farmers because of what they called the "anti-farmer policies" of the current regime at the Centre. A few months ago, around 4,000 farmers walked 180 kms from Nashik to Mumbai to meet CM Devendra Fadnavis. They presented a list of demands to the CM. The CM has agreed to meet their demands.