The protest of Tamil Nadu farmers for drought relief fund at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi grew stronger on Sunday with a group of farmers tonsured their heads to mark the protest. The farmers have been sitting on protest in the national capital for more than a fortnight demanding a drought relief package of Rs 40,000 crore from the Centre. They are also demanding Prime Minister Narendra Modi to waive off their loans like he promised in Uttar Pradesh during the recent Assembly polls there. But when after 19 days their demands were not met, they took the protest further and shaved their heads on the day.
Meanwhile, leaders from Tamil Nadu cutting across the political spectrum have offered their support to the state’s farmers. On Saturday, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham (DMK) treasurer and acting president MK Stalin met the farmers and interacted with them. The Leader of Opposition in Tamil Nadu Assembly said that the PM should allow the farmers to meet him and offer a solution to their issues. He further targetted the state government of Tamil Nadu and said the chief minister should have come here to find a solution to the problems of poor farmers. However, the CM Edappadi Palaniswami is giving more importance to RK Nagar constituency bypolls and keeping himself busy in it, he said. Stalin was accompanied by CPI National Secretary D Raja, DMK MPs Tiruchi Siva and TKS Elangovan. Stalin also called a need of an all-party meeting on the issue. After meeting the farmers, he said that he asked Ayyakkannu (who is leading the protest) to call off the strike, but they were not ready to give up. Thus, an all-party meeting would be held in the state to decide the next course of action on the issue, said Stalin.
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On Friday, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi also met the protesting farmers and blamed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for only giving relief to the rich people and not to the poor. He further said that the voices of poor farmers do not reach either the Indian Government or PM Modi. It is the responsibility of the PM to listen to them, added he.