New Delhi: A massive farmers rally in the national capital on Friday turned into a show of opposition unity with leaders including Congress President Rahul Gandhi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal accusing the Modi government of plunging the country into an acute agrarian crisis and backed demands for a complete loan waiver and higher crop prices. Led by the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), which represents over 200 farm outfits, thousands of farmers marched from the historic Ramlila Maidan to Parliament Street demanding a special session of Parliament pass bills to cancel farm loans and to ensure guaranteed remunerative prices for farm commodities based on the recommendations of the M.S. Swaminathan Commission.
Two private member bills in this regard were introduced in the Lok Sabha in 2017 by Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghtana leader and MP Raju Shetti, who warned on Friday that the Modi government would face defeat in the 2019 elections unless it accepted farmers’ demands. A host of opposition leaders including Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, National Conference’s Farooq Abdullah, CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) Kejriwal, Trinamool Congress’ Dinesh Trivedi, Loktantrik Janata Dal’s Sharad Yadav and TDP leader K. Raveendra Kumar tore into the Modi government over its “anti-farmer policies”. Also present were former JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar and Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani.
Speaking in a similar vein, Kejriwal charged the Modi government with “back-stabbing” farmers by telling the Supreme Court that it cannot implement recommendations of the M.S. Swaminathan Commission which the BJP promised to do so in 2014. “They (farmers) are not begging but fighting for their rights,” said Kejriwal and blasted the government’s crop insurance scheme. “This is not an insurance scheme but it is BJP’s ‘kisan daka yojna’ (plunder farmers scheme). The Modi government is worried more about Ambanis and Adanis,” he alleged. Amid chants of anti-Modi slogans, opposition leaders attacked the Prime Minister over “crony” capitalism and neglect of farmers’ plight. (IANS)