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New headache for Vasundhara Raje as farmers plan to gherao assembly

Farmers have decided to go on an “indefinite siege” of the state assembly from February 22.

jaipur Updated: Feb 02, 2018 21:47 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Vasundhara Raje,Rajasthan news,Bypolls
CM Vasundhara Raje leaves the CM’s residence with her son and MP Dushyant Singh (front seat) in Jaipur on Friday.(Himanshu Vyas/HT Photo)

Troubles seem to be piling up for BJP government in Rajasthan. A day after losing all three bypolls, the party is now facing the ire of the farmers.

Farmers, under the banner of All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) affiliated to CPI-M, have decided to go on an “indefinite siege” of the state assembly from February 22. The association has been conducting ‘Kisan Sansad’ at the village level for the past two months.

The budget session of the Rajasthan Assembly will begin on February 5.

The association that had staged massive protests in Sikar in September last year forcing the state government to announce a farm loan waiver is unhappy that their demands remain unfulfilled despite assurances from state ministers.

“The loan waiver is yet to be implemented and the state government appears to be backtracking on its promise to waive off farm loans up to Rs 50,000. Other demands that were accepted related to minimum support price are yet to be implemented,” AIKS leader Pemaram said.

In a meeting held in Sishu in Sikar district on Thursday, farmers leader and former MLA Amraram said that while the government had accepted most of their demands in September under pressure after the massive agitation, they have not been implemented. He appealed to farmers from all over the state to join the siege.

On September 12 last year, the BJP government had announced a loan waiver after 11 days of protest by farmers.

However, economists argue against loan waivers. Prof VS Vyas, a former member of the prime minister’s advisory council, said that loan waivers are not in the long-term interest of farmers.

“It can be a short-term remedy but in the long-term, it can create hurdles in getting loans from banks and farmers will be forced to go back to sahukars and money-lenders,” he said.

While talking about the states’ failure to implement MSP, Vyas blamed the ineffective procurement agencies. “The procurement agencies are supposed to buy from farmers at the MSP but they are ineffective, which forces farmers to sell at lower prices to private traders.”

Almost 70% people in Rajasthan are engaged in agriculture and farmers constitute a crucial vote bank. Assembly elections are due next year and the farmer organisations sense an opportunity in rallying against the government.

First Published: Feb 02, 2018 21:47 IST