The kisan mahapanchayat organised here on Sunday called for the defeat ofin all the upcoming assembly elections and vowed to continue the fight for a law guaranteeing the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for crops and other demands including the withdrawal of the Electricity Amendment bill and the arrest of Union minister Ajay Mishra over the Kheri incident.
Addressing the mahapanchayat or mega conclave of farmers held under the banner of Samyukta Shetkari Kamgar Morcha (SSKM) at Azad Maidan in south Mumbai on the eve of the beginning of the Parliament session, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leadersaid Prime Minister was a supporter of the MSP when he was the chief minister of Gujarat and wanted a nationwide law to ensure that farmers’ interests were guaranteed.
Tikait accused the Modi government of running away from a debate over the issue.
“The Centre should bring a law to guarantee MSP to farmers. There are several issues related to the agriculture and labour sectors that need attention and we will travel all over the country to highlight them,” he said.
Tikait also demanded that financial aid be given to the kin of farmers who died in the year-long protest against the Centre’s three agri marketing laws.
The mahapanchayat, held on the occasion of the death anniversary of social reformer Jyotiba Phule, hailed the farmers’ victory over the Centre withdrawing the three farm laws and vowed to fight for remaining demands, a press release said.
Peasants, workers, agricultural labourers, women, youth and students of all religions and castes from all over Maharashtra attended this conclave, it said.
“The mahapanchayat celebrated the historic victory over the BJP-RSS government of the year-long farmers’ struggle in getting the farm laws repealed, and also declared its determination to fight for the remaining demands. These include a Central law to guarantee the MSP and procurement, withdrawal of the Electricity Amendment Bill, removal from the Cabinet and arrest of Union minister Ajay Mishra for the Lakhimpur Kheri incident, repeal of the four Labour Codes, an end to selling off the country through privatisation etc.
“It will also fight for getting the prices of diesel, petrol, and cooking gas halved. Other demands included doubling the days of work and wages under MNREGA and extending this scheme to urban areas,” the release said.
The mahapanchayat called for the defeat of BJP in all the upcoming assembly elections and local body polls in Maharashtra, the release said.
SKM leaders, including Rakesh Tikait, Darshan Pal, Hannan Mollah to name a few, addressed the gathering. Yogendra Yadav, Medha Patkar, Yudhvir Singh, Tajinder Singh Virk, Atul Kumar Anjaan, Rajaram Singh and others also spoke.
The ‘Shaheed Kalash’ of the farmer victims of Lakhimpur Kheri, which kicked off from Pune on October 27 and traversed over 30 districts in Maharashtra, visited the statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the Chaitya Bhoomi of Babasaheb Ambedkar in Mumbai, the memorial to Shaheed Babu Genu and the statue of Mahatma Gandhi on November 27, the release said.
On Sunday, this yatra visited Hutatma Chowk, which commemorates 106 martyrs of the Samyukta Maharashtra Movement in the 1950s, and the ashes of the martyrs were immersed in the Arabian Sea off the Gateway of India in a special programme, said Ashok Dhawale of the Samyukta Shetkari Kamgar Morcha (SSKM).
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the government’s decision to repeal the three farm laws, which were at the centre of protests by farmers.
Many farmers were encamped at Delhi’s borders since November 2020 with a demand that the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 be rolled back and a new law enacted to guarantee the MSP on crops.
The Centre, which held several rounds of talks with the protesting farmers, had maintained that the laws were pro-farmer, while the protesters claimed they would be left at the mercy of corporations because of the legislations.