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Saturday, Nov 16, 2019

Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal likely to join 9-day dharna at Jantar Mantar to protest govt policies

Each day will focus on a fresh issue and the organisations plan to red-flag pressing issues such as the lack of jobs, the ongoing agrarian crisis, crimes against women and hate crime.

india Updated: Jan 23, 2019 08:06 IST
Harinder Baweja
Harinder Baweja
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Each day will focus on a fresh issue and the organisations plan to red-flag pressing issues such as the lack of jobs, the ongoing agrarian crisis, crimes against women and hate crime.
Each day will focus on a fresh issue and the organisations plan to red-flag pressing issues such as the lack of jobs, the ongoing agrarian crisis, crimes against women and hate crime. (Biplov Bhuyan/HT PHOTO)
         

On January 30, the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, also celebrated as Martyrs Day, thousands of farmers, ex-servicemen, Dalits, women and young people will start a dharna at Jantar Mantar — a stone’s throw from Parliament — to highlight their grievances with the National Democratic Alliance government in a protest that comes months ahead of the big electoral battle in the summer.

The All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), Young India and the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement have drawn up a nine-day plan to set the agenda for the polls. “We have stitched together an alliance of diverse segments of society and will focus on key issues that really matter to all constituents,’’ said Major (retd) Priyadarshi Chowdhury, national coordinator and spokesperson for the dharna.

Each day will focus on a fresh issue and the organisations plan to red-flag pressing issues such as the lack of jobs, the ongoing agrarian crisis, crimes against women and hate crime.

“Farmers, jawans and young people have been let down by the Narendra Modi-led NDA government. He made several promises in 2014 but sections of society are feeling cheated,’’ said former MP and general secretary, AIKS, Hannan Mollah.

This will be the second big protest march in the city in recent months. In November 2018, thousands of farmers marched in Delhi, seeking loan waivers and better prices for their produce.

The organisations have also contacted political parties to take note of their demands, according to Mollah.

Chowdhury confirmed that Congress, Aam Aadmi Party, Trinamool Congress and Rashtriya Janata Dal have pledged support. Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and chief minister Arvind Kejriwal are likely to join the protesters at Jantar Manta, HT has learnt.

“Every section of society is feeling deprived. We decided to collectively raise our voice in a peaceful protest and reclaim the idea of India,’’ said Major General (retd.) Satbir Singh, a member of the ex-servicemen movement who was at the forefront of the “one rank one pension” agitation.

The nine-day-long dharna will culminate in a march from the Red Fort to Parliament on February 7. Youngsters will march under the Young India National Coordination Committee, an amalgamation of over 50 youth movements, student unions and organisations.

“Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan, Jai Samwidhan reflects the aspirations of the people who have a right to dignified employment,” said All India Students Association president Sucheta De, channelling a slogan that’s become popular with Left-leaning parties. Her organisation is affiliated with the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist).

“Over 2.4 million government jobs are vacant and we demand the government immediately fill up the vacancies and spend 10% of GDP on education. The youth, farmers and jawans will march unitedly. We are for the country, not anti-nationals.”

The organisations have approached Delhi Police for permission to protest at Jantar Mantar. The protests will start ahead of the Parliament session slated for February 1.