Amid farmers’ protest in Maharashtra, allies spin more trouble for BJP
Mumbai city news: Shiv Sena supports protest while another ally goes one step further and participatesmumbai Updated: Jun 11, 2017 21:46 IST
With the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Maharashtra government battling a wave of farmers’ protests, its allies Shiv Sena and Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana have been backing the protesters and criticising the BJP’s policies.
The Shiv Sena said the state government, of which it is a part, has not fulfilled its pre-election promises to farmers and is trying to divide them to stop the protests. “All politicians should learn a lesson from the strong backing that the state-wide farmers’ strike is getting. Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has already said he stands firmly behind farmers. This is just the beginning. The party will stand with farmers till their very last demand is met,” said Sena MP Sanjay Raut.
Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana’s Raju Shetti has also been outspoken about the BJP government’s policies towards farmers despite minister of state for agriculture Sadabhau Khot being a senior leader of the outfit.
Over the past two months, Shetti and the Shiv Sena have often joined forces, first for the procurement of tur dal at minimum support prices to prevent losses to farmers, then in their opposition to acquisition of agricultural land for the Mumbai-Nagpur expressway and most recently in their demand for a complete farm loan waiver.
Shetti said, “We have always pursued farmers’ interests. Even the Shiv Sena has always had the best interest of farmers at heart, so on this subject the two outfits are natural allies against the government’s unfair policies. We are actively considering snapping support to the BJP if the government doesn’t meet farmers’ demands.”
The Shiv Sena also lashed out at the state government in an editorial in the party’s mouthpiece, Saamana, saying it is ridiculing farmers and trying to divide and rule.
The Sena criticised the chief minister’s attempt to quell the agitation by promising a loan waiver for small and marginal farmers in phases, saying it will not help a large number of burdened farmers in the Vidarbha-Marathwada region with landholdings of over two hectares.
“The CM has been successful in creating doubts and suspicions about the farmers’ agitation. But attempting to stop the protest is not a victory. It is a failure,” read the editorial.
It said the government will have to take responsibility even if a single farmer commits suicide before October 31, the deadline set by the state government to firm up a decision on the loan waiver.