Centre did not implement a single major initiative for farmers: Activists
Social activists and political leaders slammed the Union government Friday, alleging it has not implemented a "single major initiative" for farmers in the past four and a half years and that demonetisation worsened the agrarian distress in the country.
Addressing a rally of nearly 35,000 farmers, gathered from across the country in the national capital, Narmada Bachao Andolan activist Medha Patkar alleged that the government from the "very beginning has been adopting pro-corporate policies and not a single major initiative for farmers has been launched by it".
"The aim of the BJP government is to handover farmers', tribals' land to industrialists, corporate," Patkar claimed.
Rajaram Singh, the general secretary of All India Kisan Mahasabha (AIKM), alleged the government tried to "turn black money into white" through demonetisation.
"Demonetisation's impact falls on farmers across the country," he said, adding the exercise to suddenly render invalid a bulk of Indian currency in circulation hit farmers, who deal largely in cash, hard and contributed to the agrarian distress.
Samajwadi Party leader Dharmendra Yadav said his party has always worked to strengthen the farmers' movement for better price for their produce.
"We have always been there to support your protests earlier and will continue to do so," he said, adding farmers should not be undermined and they have the power to "topple the government".
Atul Anjaan, the national secretary of All India Kisan Sabha, alleged that the "apathetic attitude" of the Narendra Modi government towards farmers has led to the distress in the agriculture sector and the situation is worsening.
The farmers, who have been camping at the Ramlila Grounds here since Thursday, began their march to Parliament Street around 10.30 am amid heavy policy deployment.
They were stopped near Parliament Street police station, after which they assembled there.
Over 3,500 police personnel have been deployed on the route of the march. According to a senior police officer, special arrangements have been made in Central and New Delhi police districts.
Farmers have come to the national capital from different parts of the country, including Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh.
Banded under the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, which claims to be an umbrella body of 207 organisations of farmers and agricultural workers, many farmers arrived in the city on trains, buses and other modes of transport.
CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury, CPI leader S Sudhakar Reddy, AAP MP Sanjay Singh and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah also joined the protesting farmers in the heart of Delhi.
Reddy, the national secretary of the CPI, alleged that the BJP dispensation led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is most the "anti-farmer government".
"Modi government tried to pass the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill. But, as the opposition parties opposed it, the bill was not passed in the Rajya Sabha. If the BJP wins again then it will take steps to pass the controversial bill," Reddy said.
He alleged that the BJP government at the Centre has no wish to implement the Swaminathan Commission's recommendation All farmers bodies across the country have been demanding implementation of the panel's report.
Yechury said, "This is the same police station (Parliament Street police station) where Bhagat Singh was taken into custody for throwing a bomb (in the Legislative Assembly)."
"We have the power of votes, if the government does not change its stand, it will be overthrown," he said, adding, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari the country is united and "we will remove Modi (in next elections)".
Anjaan added that continuous neglect of farmers will "ensure Modi's and the BJP's downfall in 2019".
Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav said the protest -- Kisan Mukti March 2018 -- to Delhi is a historic development as not only farmers across the nation have been assembled under one platform but also it has enjoyed supports from all section of society.
TMC leader Dinesh Trivedi said, "Farmers of India stands before us. This is India's movement. Mamataji (Banerjee) has sent you love. If you have a strong resolve you can achieve everything. There are talks about loan waiver but should the farmer even have to take loans."
He also said this gathering was the "real parliament" and called for a special session of Parliament.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar said the condition of farmers in the country needs to be changed but the government is "not sympathetic" towards their plight.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)