The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) plans to reach out directly to farmers across 43,000 villages across Maharashtra to counter the Opposition’s as well as its ally Shiv Sena’s consistent attacks on the poor handling of the agrarian crisis in the state.
The Shivar Samvad (farm dialogue) campaign, planned by the party from May 25 to May 28 will see party leaders holding meetings in every village to discuss efforts taken by the government so far to alleviate the crisis. The campaign is BJP’s answer to the Opposition’s Sangharsh Yatra, which demanded a farm loan waiver and the Sena’s more recent Shiv Sampark Abhiyan, a farmer outreach programme.
The campaign will aim at direct talks between BJP functionaries and farmers to highlight all government policies, from crop insurance schemes to agriculture subsidies being offered in the state. Nearly 4,000 elected party representatives, including chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, state president Raosaheb Danve, all elected legislators, members of parliament and corporators, will take part in the campaign. On the first day of the programme, the BJP will hold meetings across 16,000 villages with Fadnavis attending the ones in villages of Latur of Marathwada and Danve in tribal Nandurbar.
“We have nearly 4,000 elected representatives who will actively take part in this programme. The idea is to sit with villagers and talk to them. Besides policies for farmers, we will also compare our government’s three-year regime to the 15-year regime of the Congress-NCP alliance. This will highlight the differences,’’ said labour minister Sambhaji Nilangekar Patil, a BJP leader.
He added that the party had assigned specific regions to senior leaders for this campaign. For instance, revenue minister Chandrakant Patil would be in charge of Kolhapur, finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar will look after Vidarbha and education minister Vinod Tawde would handle Konkan.
BJP has been facing flak from the Opposition for its poor handling of the farmers’ crisis. In the backdrop of the BJP’s victory in the local polls, the Opposition had upped its ante against the ruling party by organising a state-wide Sangharsh Yatra. The Shiv Sena has also consistently slammed its ally on the issue of farmers.
The BJP’s Shivar Samvad campaign will now tackle all the allegations made by these parties, added another senior BJP leader.