Farmer’s protest: Maharashtra ruling parties likely to join Mumbai rally today
Leaders from the three ruling political parties in Maharashtra are likely to join Monday’s public rally by farmers who have come from across the state to Mumbai’s Azad Maidan. The public rally will then proceed towards Raj Bhavan. Farmers have been arriving in Mumbai, some of them travelling over 200 kms, for two days to protest against the contentious farm laws and in solidarity with those protesting at the Delhi borders for about two months now.
The three ruling parties, Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress, along with all Left parties and Aam Aadmi Party, have announced their support to the protest. Key leaders, including NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray and state Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat, are likely to join the sit-in at Azad Maidan.
The protest march is a part of agitation being undertaken under the banner of Samyukt Shetkari Kamgar Morcha (SSKM), which aims to intensify the farmers’ struggle in capital cities across all states.
It is not clear if the police will allow the farmers to march to Raj Bhavan for security reasons; there are indications that the rally will be allowed only till Metro Cinema. Meanwhile, the police have stepped up security at Azad Maidan. “We will deploy another 100 officers and 500 police constables to maintain the law and order situation. Nine platoons of state reserve police force have been provided and drones will keep a watch,” said Mumbai spokesperson and deputy commissioner of police S Chaitanya.
Farmers have been gathering at Azad Maidan with many social and political organisations pitching in to organise their food and stay. Monday’s programme comprises a public rally between 11am and 2pm followed by the march to Raj Bhavan where a memorandum will be handed over to Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari demanding repeal of the three laws. “Our main demand is repeal of these farm laws and a law guaranteeing Minimum Support Prices (MSP) across the country along with the withdrawal of electricity amendment bill,” said Ashok Dhawale, convenor, SSKM.