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Farm unions will campaign against BJP in poll bound States

Farmers during their protest on 97th day over the new farm law issue at Singhu border, in Delhi on Tuesday   | Photo Credit: SUSHIL KUMAR VERMA

Ratcheting up the pressure on the BJP, protesting farm unions have decided to campaign against the party in the upcoming Assembly elections. The Samyukt Kisan Morcha general body on Tuesday decided to send teams to the four election-bound States and one Union Territory.

“They will not ask for support for any particular party, but they will appeal to people not to vote for the BJP,” said veteran Punjab farm leader Balbir Singh Rajewal, who heads his own faction of the Bharatiya Kisan Union. “They will tell people that the Modi government is not treating farmers fairly, and counter the propaganda of the BJP,” he added.

“This government only understands the language of elections, of votes, of seats. So we will go to all the five poll-bound States,” said Swaraj India president Yogendra Yadav. In Bengal, the campaign will kick off on March 12, when SKM leaders will take part in a farmers’ rally in Kolkata, he said, adding that campaign vehicles will also go to all Assembly constituencies in the State “to tell them the reality of what is happening to farmers”.

Following a meeting with trade union leaders on Monday, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha also announced that it will support the March 15 call of ten central trade unions to protest against privatisation and corporatisation. 

On March 6, to mark 100 days of the campaign’s arrival on Delhi’s borders, protestors plan to block the entire length of the Western Peripheral Expressway or Kundli-Manesar-Palwal Expressway for five hours between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. The six-lane highway surrounding the capital connects the main border protest sites at Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur. 

Those who support the protesting farmers in other parts of the country are encouraged to unfurl black flags on their homes and offices or wear black strips on their clothing on March 6, which will be observed as a black flag day, said SKM leaders.

The SKM will also launch an “MSP Dilao Abhiyan” to show that farmers across the country are not really getting minimum support prices for their crops in the markets. This campaign to expose the reality of the government’s promises on MSP will begin in Karnataka on March 5, and then move to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana as well, added Mr. Yadav.

The protesting farmers are demanding the repeal of three farm reform laws which they feel will weaken the system of government procurement of crops and leave small farmers at the mercy of large corporates. The Centre says the laws will provide a choice of markets to farmers, boost investment in post-harvest infrastructure, and increase farm income. Farmers also want a legal guarantee that no crops will be sold below MSP.

Tens of thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, have been camped on Delhi’s borders for three months. Talks with the government broke down on January 22, with farmers rejecting a Central proposal to suspend the three laws for one and a half years.

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Printable version | Apr 19, 2021 7:43:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/samyukt-kisan-morcha-to-send-teams-from-farm-unions-to-poll-bound-states/article33972514.ece

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