To pressure the Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP government to waive farmers’ loans, opposition parties are gearing for the fourth phase of their sangharsh yatra (struggle march) from May 11.
They also plan to request governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao and chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to convene a special session of the state legislature to discuss the issue.
The opposition parties intend to cover Konkan districts in the next three days.
Six prominent opposition parties parties — Congress, NCP, Samajwadi Party (SP), Peasants and Workers Party (PWP), Republican Party (Kawade) and United Janata Dal — have been demanding loan waiver for farmers reeling under agrarian crisis. Since March, the party leaders have been interacting with farmers and families affected by suicides. To counter them, the BJP has planned samvad yatra to reach out to people and tell them about government’s efforts to solve their problems.
“In the last three phases of the protest march, we have covered almost all districts of Vidarbha, Marathwada and north and west Maharashtra. We are yet to visit only the Konkan region and it will be covered in the fourth phase of the yatra,” said a senior leader who did not wish to be named.
He added, “We have decided to ask the government to waive farmers’ power bills from the use of agriculture pumps. We also want the farm loan waiver to be discussed in the state legislature. A delegation of senior Opposition leaders will meet the governor and chief minister on May 2 to discuss both demands.”
The Opposition stepped up its demands to grant the Rs30,500-crore loan waiver after the Uttar Pradesh government waived its farmer loans.
While addressing BJP’s state executive meeting in Chinchwad in Pune on Thursday, Fadnavis said, “During the samvad (dialogue) yatra, BJP leaders and workers will tell farmers about the government’s efforts to help them. Around five lakh workers will reach 50 lakh families.”
BJP’s ally Raju Shetti-led Swabhimani Shtkari Sangathana (SSS) too has launched a state-wide protest over the loan waiver demand.
SSS has collected 6.5 lakh forms signed by the farmers that states that they are in debt because of the bad policies implemented by the state government and hence it should waive off their loans.