Farmers to restart protest over MSP, campaign against BJP ahead of assembly polls

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha seeks appointments with PM Modi and Rahul Gandhi to submit a memorandum of demands to them

SKM leaders during a meeting in New Delhi on 11 July (photo: Vipin/NH)
SKM leaders during a meeting in New Delhi on 11 July (photo: Vipin/NH)

NH Political Bureau

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), India's largest farmers' body which led historic 2020-21 protests, has announced plans to reignite their agitation against the NDA government to push for their pending demands.

These demands include a guaranteed MSP law, loan waivers, and pensions for farmers and farmworkers.

During a press conference in Delhi on Thursday, SKM leaders revealed their strategy to present a charter of demands to all members of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

"The General Body decided to restart the agitation demanding the implementation of the agreement dated 9 December 2021, signed by the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Government of India, and other key demands affecting the livelihood of farmers," the SKM leaders stated.

The SKM plans to submit an updated demand charter directly to Members of Parliament from 16 to 18 July 2024, urging them to pressure the NDA government into immediate action.

"We will seek an appointment with the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition and submit the memorandum of demands to them also,” SKM leaders told media during the press conference.

Hannan Mollah, a prominent face of the farmers' movement, asserted that the SKM will campaign against the BJP in coming assembly elections. Mollah said, “We will expose, oppose and punish BJP”. He noted that the farmers' movement has significantly impacted Lok Sabha elections, defeating the BJP in 38 rural seats across Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Maharashtra.

Mollah also said SKM will observe Quit India Day as "Corporates Quit India Day," holding protest demonstrations nationwide in support of their Demand Charter.

The campaign will focus on advocating for India to exit the WTO and rejecting MNCs in agricultural production and trade, with state coordination committees deciding the campaign's form.

The charter of demands adopted by the SKM includes -

1. Legally guaranteed MSP@C2+50 per cent with guaranteed procurement for all crops.

2. Comprehensive loan waiver to free farmers and agricultural workers from indebtedness and end farm suicides.

3. No privatisation of power sector, no prepaid smart meters.

4. Comprehensive insurance coverage to all crops and animal husbandry under the Public Sector, scrapping of the anti-farmer and pro-corporate PMFBY Scheme.

5. Pension of Rs.10,000 (ten thousand) per month to all farmers and agricultural workers.

6. Implementing Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013, revised circle rate of land every alternative year across India, providing due compensation to all those who lost land due to illegal acquisition for projects by the public as well as private sector and stopping acquisition without rehabilitation and resettlement; ending Bulldozer Raj of demolition of slums and settlements without prior rehabilitation.

7. No corporatisation of agriculture, No MNC’s in agricultural production and trade, bringing India out of WTO agreement on agriculture.

8. No GST on agricultural inputs such as fertilisers, seeds, pesticides, electricity, irrigation, petroleum products, machineries and tractors.

9. Amending the GST Act to ensure the State Governments' right to taxation as per the federal principles enshrined in the Constitution of India with the principle of strong States and strong Union of India.

10. Introducing separate Union Budget for Agriculture with adequate share of GDP.

11. Abolition of the Department of Cooperation in the Union Government, and keeping Cooperation as a State Subject as enshrined in the Constitution of India. The Union Government has to support the States instead of promoting centralisation of power for the interest of the corporate class at the cost of the producing classes-farmers and workers.

12. Ending commodification of natural resources including land, water, forest and minerals. Adopting National Water Resource Policy to preserve and use water resources for the promotion of livelihood and protection of nature.

13. Ensuring permanent solution for wildlife menace; provide Rs 1 crore compensation for loss of life and adequate compensation for loss of crops and cattle.

14. Providing compensation for all the families of martyrs of the historic farmers’ struggle including the martyrs of Lakhimpur Kheri. 

15. Withdrawing all the cases related with the farmers’ struggle and building a suitable Martyrs Memorial at Singhu/Tikri Border to commemorate the 736 farmer martyrs.

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