In an unprecedented show of unity, as many as 130 farmers’ organisations from all over the country joined hands on Friday to put up a united fight against the “pro-corporate” Modi government. After daylong deliberations, farmers’ leaders concluded that it was a “do or die” situation for farmers in the country. Amid “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan,” leaders vowed to launch a nationwide campaign against the Central government from July under the banner of All India Kisan Sangharsh Samiti (AIKSS).
“Whom is this country run for? Is this country being run for corporates or lakhs of farmers, workers and marginalised people? Peasant rebellion has started from a village and it is spreading all over the country. We will take it to its logical conclusion,” said Swaraj Abhiyan chief Yogendra Yadav while addressing the media in New Delhi on Friday.
Calling it a “historical day” for the country’s peasants’ movement, he announced that from July 6, farmers would launch a nationwide yatra (rally) from Mandsaur (MP) where six farmers were killed in police firing earlier this month.
“On completion of one month of the Mandsaur firing incident, we will start a nationwide yatra. We will cover all states of the country. We will educate, unite, organise farmers during the yatra. It will culminate on October 2 in Champaran (Bihar) where Gandhi Ji started his first Satyagraha from,” he added.
Joined by hundreds of farmers’ leaders from Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab, Yadav announced the formation of an all-India coordination committee on the occasion.
He also demanded complete loan waiver and increase in the Maximum Support Price (MSP) for all crops.
Attacking the Prime Minister for making false promises, he said, “Though farmers of the country are facing a lot of issues, we would only focus on these two issues as these are of utmost importance. Despite promising to implement the recommendation of the Swaminathan Committee report, Modi ji has taken a U-turn on the issue of loan waiver and MSP,” Yadav told the audience.
Farmers’ leader, VM Singh, incidentally a relative of Maneka Gandhi, was unanimously appointed convenor of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Samiti. His name was proposed by Yogendra Yadav himself.
Singh told the gathering: “The Modi government is discriminating between ‘our’ farmers and ‘their’ farmers. Nothing has changed on the ground in the last three years. The plight of a farmer in Karnataka or Tamil Nadu is not different from the farmer who lives in Uttar Pradesh. Their suffering, their pain are the same. The treatment meted out to them should also be the same.”
The face of the Tamil Nadu farmers’ protest, Ayyakkannu, was also present at the meeting. Extending his support to the umbrella organisation (AIKSS), he said, “We protested with skulls at the Jantar Mantar, demanding loan waivers. We also met Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. But no decision has been taken yet.” Ayyakkannu said that the minister had asked for two days to consult the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on this matter. It’s been almost three months since then.