- MASSIVE PROTEST IN LUCKNOW ATTRACTS THOUSANDS OF FARMERS FROM ACROSS THE STATE
BJP GOVERNMENTS IN DELHI AND IN STATES ONLY WORKING FOR BIG CORPORATES, SAY KISAN LEADERS
Syed Ghazanfar Abbas | Caravan Daily
LUCKNOW — Within three days of bringing the BJP government of Devendra Fadnavis in Maharashtra to its knees, Indian farmers have decided to turn the heat on the BJP government led by Yogi Adityanath in Uttar Padesh. A mammoth rally of farmers held in Lucknow on Thursday could be a troubling signal for another state government led by BJP which has lost two all-important parliamentary by-elections in its bastion of Gorakhpur and Phulpur this week.
“BJP has been handed humiliating defeat in by-polls because it did not fulfill its promises. People in rural regions voted against it. It is clear that whether it is Modi Government in the centre, Yogi Government in UP or BJP governments in various states, they are all anti-farmers. They are only working for corporate and big industrialists. If our demands are not fulfilled, our struggle will spread across the state,” Ashok Dhawale, President of All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) told Caravan Daily.
“The Maharashtra farmers’ struggle did not just receive popular support in the state but from across the country. Almost all the political parties supported farmers in Maharashtra except the BJP. This has created massive pressure on the BJP governments in various states.”
Last week, Kisan Sabha had organised a massive and historic march in Mumbai. Around 35,000 farmers from Nashik district and neighbouring areas of Maharashtra had marched to Mumbai walking around 180 kilometers. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was forced to meet a delegation of the farmers and accept their demands.
In a huge setback on Wednesday, the BJP lost both Gorakhpur and Phulpur parliamentary seats to the Samajwadi Party. The Gorakhpur seat had been won by chief minister Adityanath for five straight terms. He vacated it after he became Chief Minister last year. The Phulpur seat was won by Deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya. In Bihar, the opposition RJD defeated the JDU-BJP combine in Araria Lok Sabha seat and Jehanabad Assembly seat despite the imprisonment of RJD chief Lalu Yadav and numerous cases brought against his family.
Attacking the Modi government, Kisan Sabha President Dhawale said: “In 2014 election, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in every single public meeting promised that if BJP comes to power it would implement Dr MS Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations. It was even included in BJP’s manifesto. However, within 8 months of coming to power it submitted an affidavit to the Supreme Court saying that it can no longer implement it. So, it is understood that Adityanath also is not willing to implement it.”
The farmers’ leader added: “Our main demands are to waive loans, purchasing cost of crops to be fixed 1.5 times of producing cost and Rs 5000 per month as pension to the farmers. Not getting basic food ration is also a serious issue that needs to be resolved by the government.”
Addressing the farmers on Thursday, Dhawale said, “Losing Gorakhpur constituency which the BJP had been winning for last 25 years is a result of farmers’ anger. This shows that the countdown for the BJP has begun!”
In the massive Lucknow rally on Thursday, thousands of farmers and agricultural labourers came from across 30 districts of the state, pressing for their demands in one voice.
Besides Dhawale, Hannan Mulla, General Secretary of AIKS along with former MP and CPI-M leader Subhashini Ali also addressed the rally.
Speaking on the occasion, Hannan Mulla said, “On an average 52 farmers commit suicide each day in the country. How distressful that around 4 lakhs of farmers have committed suicide so far. But there is no concern or grief on the part of the government. Even the media is not concerned. Kisan Sabha has revolted against this negligence.”
Attacking Chief Minister Yogi, Subhashini Ali said, “The drama of the BJP distributing cheques to the farmers waiving farm loans was exposed when very minimal amount like 19 paisa, 89 paisa were waived. Instead of helping the farmers, Modi and Yogi are spreading hatred in the name of religion and caste.”
“Yesterday Yogi said that he would not allow these people with red flag coming into Lucknow for the rally and he cancelled our permission to hold rally which was supposed to be conducted outside the state assembly in front of BJP’s head office. If this rally had been held there, the scene would have been different. But we are not afraid of this “Khisyani Billi”.
Ali said, “In Rajasthan and Maharashtra farmers have proved that Modi, Fadanvis and Yogi each of them can be defeated. This big rally in UP is a warning to the governments led by BJP and make the people aware about the farmers’ issues. This fight will go on, beyond rallies and dharnas till the UP government does not bow down to the farmers. We take pledge that our struggle will continue until the BJP is defeated.”
All India Kisan Sabha had scheduled to hold this demonstration outside the state Assembly but they were not allowed to do so. Consequently, they shifted the protest site to the Laxman Mela Ground at the outskirts of the city.