Talks of fresh protests as farmers call off strike in Maharashtra
Mumbai city news: Some farmer groups say they will intensify campaign, claim they were betrayed by Kisan Kranti member who announced the end of strike on Day 3mumbai Updated: Jun 05, 2017 10:49 IST
After chief minister Devendra Fadnavis promised a loan waiver for 31 lakh farmers with marginal land holdings, the farmers’ strike was called off on Saturday. But this doesn’t seem to be the end of the protests as some of their outfits have declared that they will launch fresh protests.
All India Kisan Sabha has called a meeting of all farmers’ outfits on June 8 at Nashik to prepare a road map for the movement to demand loan waivers for all 1.34 crore farmers of the state. Ajit Navle, state general secretary of All India Kisan Sabha, who was also part of the delegation that met Fadnavis on Friday night, said the chief minister did not agree to a single demand substantively. “The CM’s replies to our demands were ambiguous. I walked out of the meeting as a mark of protest,” Navle said.
He added that they have not given up and instead decided to intensify the movement by getting all the farmers’ outfits together. “I am declaring this on behalf of all of them,” Navle said.
The farmers’ felt betrayed when member of Kisan Kranti, Jayaji Suryavanshi, who had announced that the strike had been called off, was found at the bungalow of minister of state for agriculture Sadabhau Khot after the CM’s meeting. Learning this, the farmers’ went berserk and burnt his effigies in various parts of the state.
Sources said Suryavanshi is also a former BJP leader from Aurangabad district.
Suryavanshi apologised for the decision to withdraw the strike and said, “I have made a mistake but do not hesitate to apologise to farmers because I am their son,” adding, “The strike was only called off temporarily. But if farmers want to continue, I am with them.”
Raghunath Dada Patil, a farmers’ representative, said the CM has back-stabbed farmers and that they would intensify the agitation.
The BJP-led state government went into damage-control mode after this with the chief minister insisting that the farmers’ outfits called off the agitation and were satisfied with his promises. He blamed the opposition parties for pressuring farmers to continue protesting.
“I don’t agree that the issue has not been resolved. We will waive off loans of small and marginal farmers by October 31. The loan waiver will be highest in the state’s history. This is the best suited formula for Maharashtra suggested by the state finance secretary DK Jain after studying loan waiver of states such as Uttar Pradesh, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh,” said Fadnavis. He added, “Certain people who have lost farmers’ confidence are using this agitation to settle political scores with the government. They don’t want the farmers’ issue to be solved but the situation to worsen,” the CM said.
He added that the loan waiver would put an additional burden of Rs30,000 crore on the state exchequer but the state had no other option.