Farmers demonstrate on National Highway-9 during the protest against farm reform laws, in Ghaziabad on December 3.(Sakib Ali/HT photo)
Farmers demonstrate on National Highway-9 during the protest against farm reform laws, in Ghaziabad on December 3.(Sakib Ali/HT photo)

CPIM’s All India Kisan Sabha plays key role in building solidarity for farmers’ protest

For the AIKS, the experience of 2014 movement against the land bill and the 2018 long march in Maharashtra came handy this time
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Saubhadra Chatterji
UPDATED ON DEC 04, 2020 09:43 AM IST

The CPIM in India had long mastered the art of issue-based support. It’s farmer arm, All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), increasingly widened the scope of such pacts to stage big-ticket protests such as the ongoing farmers’ agitation in the National Capital Region.

For the AIKS, a key participant along with Punjab Kisan organisations’ coordination committee and several other organisations, in the ongoing protests, the experience of 2014 movement against the land bill and the 2018 long march in Maharashtra came handy this time.

When the NDA government brought the land bill in 2014, the AIKS tried to form a broad-based movement joining hands with more than 300 organisations representing tribals, activits, forest right movement, Dalits and even fishermen. And after the Mandsaur incident, where farmers died during protests, the AIKS reached out to other organisers for an issue-based pact and formed All India Kisan Sangharsh coordination committee (AIKSCC).

“AIKSCC brought together more than 250 organisations who might not agree with each other on all issues. But we formed an issue-based unity around two common agenda to fight together: assured remunerative price and freedom from debt. In the course of United struggles consensus on broader issues developed,” said Vijoo Krishnan, joint secretary of Kisan Sabha.

It is the AIKSCC that held long negotiations with farm bodies in Punjab and Haryana and other solidarity groups to launch a massive protest against the new farm laws of the NDA government.

The kisan long march in Maharashtra had proved the organising power of the AIKS but this time, in the rice bowl of India, they found the new laws as the perfect cause to expand their issue-based support and join hands with more farmer bodies.

“The solidarity between farmers and workers, students, women, activists and even professionals such as lawyers and doctors is unprecedented,” adds Vijoo, “we also have plans to intensify and broaden the protests across the country. Efforts to portray it as a Punjab specific movement is far from the reality of consistent protests across India. Our organisations are focused on building solidarity for the ongoing farm agitation in Delhi.”

The farm wing’s tactical line of issue-based help also comes when the CPIM and the Left parties have taken a fresh approach to issue-based pacts with outfits and parties outside the leftist periphery. The Left parties joined hands with the RJD and Congress after a long time in Bihar, clinching impressive results. It has already announced seat pacts—not alliances—with the Congress in Assam and West Bengal and with DMK in Tamil Nadu.

When asked why it took such a long time to organise protests as the farm bills were cleared in August, Vijoo said, “You have to consider that there are partial lockdowns and Covid-19 pandemic is far from over. Our leaders had to negotiate with many organisations and held several online meetings as well as in villages. It was a meticulously built unity. I don’t think we are late.We had numerous protests across the country from June 5.”

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