Protesting Farmers

Social activist Medha Patkar and Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav during 'Kisan Mukti Sansad' in New Delhi Nov. 21, 2017. (IANS photo)

NEW DELHI — Thousands of farmers protested for the second consecutive day here Nov. 21 and announced the resumption of the agitation in Gujarat, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will campaign for the assembly elections.

Yogendra Yadav of Swaraj India said the countrywide campaign will begin Nov. 26 in Bardoli, Gujarat. 

"Modi is a busy man. He does not have time to meet us here. Maybe, he is busy in Gujarat. So, we will go there and begin our campaign from there. If he has any concern left for the farmers, he should come and meet them there," Yadav said.

The campaign will end Jan. 26 as 'Kisan Mukti Diwas.' 

Swaraj India is a part of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee – an umbrella body of 184 farmers organizations –  which organized the protest here. 

On Nov. 20, over 15,000 farmers marched from the Ramlila Maidan to Parliament Street near Jantar Mantar seeking support for their demands, including loan waivers and remunerative prices for farm produce. 

The farmers, who had trooped in from 21 states, said they were in financial distress due to pending loans, the fall in prices of agriculture produce and drought-like conditions, mostly in southern parts of the country.

Dharmlingam, a farmer from Karnataka's Kolar district, said the huge gathering of farmers in Delhi must have helped the government to understand their sufferings. 

"I wish now that the government will act," he said.

Social activist Medha Patkar, Lok Sabha member and farmer leader Raju Shetty, and agriculture activist Kavitha Kuruganti were among those who held the government responsible for the "poor" condition of Indian farmers.

They said farmers were not getting remunerative prices for their crops – even though the government had announced a Minimum Support Price – due to the Center's "anti-farmer" policies. 

Farmer activist from Telangana, Kiran Kumar Vissa, said: "We had expected at least a visit from Union Agriculture Minister to these farmers. We are going to continue our battle for the welfare of farmers." 

The AIKSCC organized 'Kisan Mukti Sansad' or mock Parliament session Nov. 20 to present two bills on crop loans waivers and remunerative prices for farm produce. 

According to the AIKSCC, Modi had promised a 50 percent profit margin during the 2014 Lok Sabha election campaigning, which he "forgot." 

It said the government had failed to address issues such as the rising costs of pesticides, fertilizers and fuel.

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