The Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP government in Maharashtra on Monday managed to resolve the farmers’ protest in Mumbai, an issue that could have turned potentially dangerous for the government had it not taken the right measures at the right time. On Monday, as thousands of farmers converged at the capital city’s Azad Maidan ground, the state government met protesting farmers and agreed to all their demands. Nearly 40,000 farmers had marched to Mumbai from Nashik and gathered in Mumbai’s iconic Azad Maidan. Subsequently, CM Fadnavis held a meeting with a delegation of farmer leaders yesterday and farmers decided to call off the protest.
However, arriving at the solution to what could have triggered a major political challenge for the BJP government was not easy for CM Fadnavis. The protests had grabbed the headlines and even Shiv Sena had backed the peasants. However, Fadnavis kept his composure and did not let things go out of hand. In fact, efforts to placate the farmers began as soon as the march began. BJP ministers in the state kept meeting and assuring farmers.
However, farmers continued their march and threatened to gherao the assembly. Opposition parties, including Congress President Rahul Gandhi, MNS Chief Raj Thackrey, and CPIM leaders had trained their guns at the BJP government. Even at that moment, Fadnavis had said that government is sensitive and positive towards demands posed by a sea of farmers.
At yesterday’s meeting, authorities concerned had agreed to to include loans outstanding since 2008 in its loan waiver, right of farmers, tribals to till forest land, Nar-Par, Daman Ganga and Girnar river-linking projects, MSP for farm produce in line with Swaminathan formula, Financial Aid to tribals with serious health problems and 31 water conservation projects in state’s tribal north.
Here are Top highlights of the kisan march
1. The protest saw thousands of protesting farmers led by CPI(M)-affiliated Akhil Bhartiya Kisan Sabha (AIKS) walk 180km for six days to reach Mumbai to press for their demands.
2. The farmers gathered at the Azad Maidan and leaders had planned to gherao the state assembly. Doctors had visited Azad Maidan to check the farmers. Chandrakant Patil, Girish Mahajan and Eknath Shinde had met farmers there.
3. Fadnavis said that in the meeting, the government and representatives of farmers and Adivasis agreed to set up a committee to allot agricultural land to tribals, provided they submit a proof of pre-2005 land cultivation. The Chief Minister has underlined that the government has accepted almost all their demands.
4. Earlier in the day, Fadnavis informed the state assembly that around 90 to 95 per cent of the participants are poor tribals. He said that participants were fighting for forest land rights. He had said that the government is sensitive and positive towards their demands.
5. Meanwhile, Left leaders have claimed victory. CPIM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, who likened this march to that of Dandi March undertaken by Mahatma Gandhi to protest the British salt tax, asked farmers to go back to their homes.
6. Congress President Rahul Gandhi flayed the BJP government and backed the Kisan March. Gandhi claimed that agrarian crisis has become common site under the BJP rule.
7. MNS Chief Raj Thackrey had also met farmers and sought their support.
8. Meanwhile, noted Economist MS Swaminathan, who authored the recommendations of the National Commission of Farmers (NCF), had opined that farm loan waiver is not the solution to the issues faced by the agrarian community.
9. Last year, Fadnavis government had announced a farm loan waiver scheme after farmers’ protest rocked the state politics.
10. Amidst all of this, anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare had sent a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying that he will organise his agitation on the Jan Lokpal and farmers issues scheduled from March 23 and asked for a space.