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Opposition readies to corner Maha govt over farm loan waiver

The idea is to cover 1,500 km through Vidarbha, Marathawada and Western Maharashtra where farmer suicides have remained the highest in the state....

mumbai Updated: Mar 27, 2017 10:24 IST
Faisal Malik
Leaders of the seven parties would be interacting with farmers and families of those who have committed suicide.
Leaders of the seven parties would be interacting with farmers and families of those who have committed suicide.(representation pic/AFP)

Mumbai In a first-ever political initiative since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) romped to power in 2014 assembly polls, seven political parties from Maharashtra have come together to take on the BJP-led government demanding loan waiver for farmers.

The Opposition parties — Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Samajwadi Party (SP), All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), Peasants and Workers Party (PWP), Republican Party (Kawade) and United Janata Dal — have chalked out a seven-day Sangharsh Yatra (Struggle March) from Chandrapur to Panvel from March 29.

The idea is to cover 1,500 km through Vidarbha, Marathawada and Western Maharashtra where farmer suicides have remained the highest in the state. Leaders of the seven parties would be interacting with farmers and families of those who have committed suicide. The Yatra will pass through Nagpur, home town of chief minister Devendra Fadnavis . The protest will be held during the ongoing budget session, which the Opposition intends to boycott. The move assumes significance against speculations being rife that the BJP is contemplating mid-term assembly polls.

Fadnavis had recently stated that it was financially unviable for the state government to beare the burden of Rs30,500 crore required to waive off loans of 1.34 crore farmers. The Opposition, after its rout in the recent civic and local body polls, is trying to corner state government over the CM’s loan wavier remark, especially when Sena — BJP’s ally in the government — is also in favour of the waiver.

“The Yatra will be more of an interaction with people and less speeches. Precisely the reason we have kept 16 public meetings during this period,” said a senior Congress leader.

The Yatra will witness participation of MLAs and MPs, which will be accommodated in a convoy of 150 to 200 vehicles. All the legislators and leaders will be meeting in Nagpur on March 28.

Ashok Chavan, Maharashtra Congress president, said the state has been conveniently ignoring farmers’ suicides and other issues related to farmers despite raising them repeatedly. “This is the very reason why the Opposition parties decided to come together and directly approach farmers and bring their attention to the government’s apathy towards them,” Chavan said.

The Yatra is more about raising voices of the downtrodden rather than starting a political movement against the state government, he clarified.

Also read: Maharashtra budget: No loan waiver for farmers, but agri sector gets boost

Farmers, loan waiver and politics in Maharashtra