Success of farmers’ march doubtful despite assurances

Prathmesh Patil
Tuesday, 13 March 2018

This move has not gone down well with Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatna, as farmers around the State celebrated a rare victory.

PUNE: The farmers’ long march organised by All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) from Nashik to Mumbai is seen as a huge success as the State government was forced to give a written promise to fulfil all the demands of the farmers and tribals. 

After the assurance given by CM Devendra Fadnavis, the agitating farmers called off their protest on Monday. However, this move has not gone down well with Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatna, as farmers around the State celebrated a rare strategic victory.

“The government has lost credibility for us. Even if they have given their promises in writing, we are doubtful,” said Deepak Bhise, a tomato farmer from Lasalgaon. He added, “The Kisan Sabha needs to be congratulated for the way they led the protest to a successful end. But the experience of this government shows they might be trying to save face without any intention of fulfilling the demands.”

Another farmer, Vinayak Patil, from Kakadwadi village in Sangli district, said, “The government should take our demands like loan waiver, MSP and electric bill waiver seriously. We voted for the BJP thinking they will bring a change to our state. I was a BJP voter, but in 2019, I don’t think I will vote for them. We are trying to get in touch with the Kisan Sabha to give them our list of demands.” 

From the same village, Shashikant Patil, also a farmer, said, “It is difficult to trust this government. They have cheated us time and again. They announced a so-called historic waiver, but then put in so many regulations that it was of no use.”

“The same will happen now. They gave the promises in writing but will put in so many conditions that it becomes useless. Maharashtra’s farmers will not forget this mockery,” Patil added.    

“The government and the Kisan Sabha are saying the protests were successful for farmers, but apart from accepting a few demands, the main demands have been completely ignored,” said Yogesh Pande, spokesperson of the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, led by MLA Raju Shetti. 

“The main demands were for farm loan waiver, MSP and land acquisition. None of those demands were fulfilled. The protests were only partially successful. It was a one-party led protest and they know their agenda, but if they are claiming to represent all farmers, they should take the issues which are important to all farmers and not just a section,” Pande said, adding, “We had taken out a march of thousands of farmers, walking 70-80 km. We were not received by the government with such eagerness.”

Dinesh Kulkarni, National Convener of the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, an RSS-affiliated farmers’ organisation, said, “The demands of the protesters in Mumbai were reasonable and we support them. But nowadays it seems everyone is trying to politicise farmers by capitalising on their issues. The protesters of the Kisan Sabha, as reports suggest, were mostly vanvasis (tribals) from Nashik and Thane areas and the number of farmers in them is questionable.” 

He said, “The government has already announced the things that they are demanding. We should be patient as the government does its work.”

“The demands of the protesters in Mumbai were reasonable and we support them. But nowadays it seems that everyone is trying to politicise farmers by capitalising on their issues. The protesters of the Kisan Sabha, as reports suggest, were mostly vanvasis (tribals) from Nashik and Thane areas and the number of farmers in them is questionable.” 
— Dinesh Kulkarni (National Convener of Bharatiya Kisan Sangh)

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