Devendra Fadnavis govt faces farmers' ire as huge procession threatens to take over Mumbai on 12 March

Mumbai: Uneasy days lie ahead for Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis as farmers in huge numbers will enter Mumbai on Monday under the banner of Akhil India Kisan Sabha, the CPM farmers' wing to protest against the failure of the state government in resolving hordes of issues affecting the farming community.

Maharashtra minister Eknath Shinde meeting farmers at Shahapur on Friday. Firstpost/Sanjay Sawant

Maharashtra minister Eknath Shinde meeting farmers at Shahapur on Friday. Firstpost/Sanjay Sawant

"The demands are an increase in Minimum Support Price for crops, immediate implementation of loan waiver, implementation of the Swaminathan Commission, forest rights to the farmers, good quality education for farmers' children," Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Sabha general secretary, Ajit Navale told Firstpost.

The issue is no longer limited to the distress persisting in the state's agrarian sector as BJP's ally in the government—Shiv Sena—alongwith Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) are also extending their support to the march by 50,000 farmers to the state capital making it thoroughly political. The march began four days ago in Nashik and is scheduled to enter Thane, near Mumbai on Sunday before it ends at Azad Maidan in Mumbai on Monday.

In what could be a strong message from the afflicted farmers, the congregation is also likely to surround the state legislature to press for their demands before the Fadnavis government. Farm woes are far from over even after the Maharashtra government had deposited Rs 13,452 crore in the bank accounts of farmers seeking loan waiver.

"The farmers were promised a loan waiver package of Rs 34,000 crore by the Fadnavis government. But in reality, a much lesser amount has been deposited in the farmers' accounts. They had promised loan waiver to 89 lakh farmers. We have demanded a complete loan waiver. Forget about our demands, but this government has even failed to keep even its own word. They are cheating farmers. That's why we will hit the road against the government," Navale said.

"We had highlighted our demands earlier but the state government repeatedly ignored us. So the state's steering committee of farmers' agitation decided to launch an aggressive agitation against the state government from 6 March. I am very happy that Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation minister and senior Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde who is also the guardian minister of Thane visited our march yesterday night at Shahapur. Shinde told us that Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has announced his support for the farmers' march," he said.

The minister confirmed the support of his party to the farmers as well.

"Shiv Sena will support the farmers' morcha. Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray is always with farmers and we are repeatedly demanding the complete loan waiver for farmers. As guardian minister of Thane, I welcome the morcha and next two days Shiv Sena will give full support to the farmers' march," Shinde said.

The MNS also offered its support to the farmers' rally.

"Today afternoon when our march started from Bhiwandi, MNS chief Raj Thackeray called me and offered me his party's support to our cause. We have 50,000 farmers with us but we hope the number to touch 1 lakh once the Shiv Sena and MNS join us. I am sure the government which has been turning a deaf ear to us so far will hear us this time. Otherwise we will not return to Nasik," said Navale.


Updated Date: Mar 10, 2018 20:24 PM

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