From a worker with late farmer leader Sharad Joshi’s Shetkari Sanghatana (SS) to a member of a Supreme Court-appointed committee to hold talks with farmers, Anil Ghanwat, a known supporter of Central government’s three farm laws on Tuesday said that he will hold talks with the protesting farmers, irrespective of his personal opinions, and submit its report.
Mr. Ghanwat’s former colleagues from the SS however, mentioned that he does not represent views of their organisation as he has already parted ways and supported Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2019 general elections.
“He along with few others are no longer with Shetkari Sangathana. They run a different organisation which is called ‘Shetkari Sangathan-inspired from Sharad Joshi’. In 2019, general elections that group took a stand in support of the BJP. We oppose both Congress and the BJP,” said Kalidas Apet, executive president of SS, which is presently being headed by veteran farmer leader Raghunathdada Patil. Mr. Apet said that the SS does not support the laws in its present form.
Mr. Ghanwat came to the limelight in June 2019 when the SS attempted to plant banned Genetically Modified Herbicide Tolerant (HT) Bt Cotton seed in Akola district, which he described as the civil disobedience movement to protest against Central government’s indecisiveness in approving next general GM seeds. He has already supported the three controversial farm laws, videos of which are on his YouTube channel.
Talking about his appointment, Mr. Ghanwat said he had not applied for the position. It must be because of the government which records activities of farmer organisations that they found him suitable for the job. “The committee will go to them, if they do not come to us,” he said, when asked about protesting farmers’ unwillingness to talk to the committee. Asked about his political inclination, he said that politics does not matter when it comes to farmers’ interests.