Farmers gather for Mumbai rally; Sharad Pawar present, Shiv Sena sends youth wing leader
Leaders of the prominent parties in Maharashtra joined a gathering of farmers at Mumbai's Azad Maidan on Monday. These farmers will march towards the Raj Bhavan to protest against the contentious farm laws and in solidarity with those protesting at the Delhi borders for about two months now.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, Maharashtra Congress president Balasaheb Thorat, Mumbai Congress president Bhai Jagtap, Jitendra Awhad, Jayant Patil from Peasants and Workers Party of India and president of the Maharashtra unit of Samajwadi Party, Abu Azmi, are present at the venue.
No Shiv Sena leader is present at the venue of the public meeting. The Sena's youth wing leader Rahul Londhe has been sent as party's representative. The Sena, along with NCP and Congress, is running the government in Maharashtra.
Attacking the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the Centre, Pawar said that those holding power do not care for farmers and labourers of this country.
"The discussion over the farm laws began when I was the Union agriculture minister in 2003-04. We discussed them with the agriculture ministers of all the states. The deliberations remained inconclusive. The BJP government passed these laws without any debate and in a single day in Parliament," said Pawar.
"Mumbai had played an important role in freedom fight, unified Maharashtra movement and now will play a key role in this fight against the farm laws too," the NCP chief added. He also said that there won't be any compromise on the Minimum Support Price (MSP).
Thorat, meanwhile, said that the three contentious laws were passed without any debate to facilitate a few industrialists.
"We extend support to all farmers protesting for the past two months against the three farm laws passed by the Modi government. The government subjected farmers to water cannons in freezing winters," he said.
"The laws have been made for businessmen. These laws will not only affect farmers but everyone, as you will have to pay more to buy farm produce," the Congress leader said, calling the January 26 tractor rally a "massive uprising".
All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), one of the constituents of the farmers' protest, claimed "tremendous support" from other organisations.
"In the past 13 days, thousands of farmers have gathered to support this struggle. We have received tremendous support from sister organisations and other labour organisations. All the political and social organisations standing up to the BJP are gathered in a show of strength here," said AIKS president Ashok Dhawale.
Narendra Modi and Amit Shah's government will be left shaken, he added.
"The farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal have been protesting at Delhi for past two months, against all odds, tear gas and water cannons used by the government. 150 farmers have laid their lives. I condemn the government for how it has handled this situation," said Dhawale.
The leaders from Peasants and Workers Party said that the Minimum Support Price (MSP) should be applicable for all farm produce.
"MSP should be applicable for all farm produce. The government should purchase all produce. If anyone tries to bargain on MSP, action should be taken against them," said party leader Jayant Patil.
The contract employees of the solid waste management department of BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) also present at Azad Maidan to show their support to farmers' protest.
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.