Kerala farmers call for a national body under Congress


Thiruvananthapuram : A Kerala farmers’ organisation owing allegiance to Congress has called on the party to set up a similar body at the national level saying that its absence is leading to emergence of regional farmers’ movements.

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“The absence of a strong farmer’s organisation under the Congress flag has led to emergence of regional movements like those led by Sharad Joshi (Maharastra), Mahendra Singh Tikayat (UP), Nanjunda Swamy (Karnataka) and INFARM (Kerala Catholic Church),” Lal Varughese Kalpakavadi, president of Kerala Karshaka (farmers) Congress, told IANS Thursday.

“Currently the Congress party has only cells and we wish there should be a full-fledged party outfit and that is what we aim at,” he said.

The Kerala Karshaka Congress will submit this demand to party president Sonia Gandhi Friday, Kalpakavadi said.

Sonia Gandhi is arriving here later Thursday on a two-day visit to the state.

The demand for setting up a national-level body comes in the wake of efforts by various factions of Kerala Congress, a regional party, to establish a hold on the state farmers. The Communist parties, traditionally farm labour-oriented, are also trying to woo the farming community.

Kalpakavadi said the Karshaka Congress is attracting farmers owing allegiance to other parties by organising meetings at which agricultural experts hold classes. The organisation has also introduced a programme called the ‘Open House’ in 14 districts of the state.

“The first one was organized by us at Peelisery village in Kozhikode Feb 9 and we were amazed at the response as more than 1,000 farmers turned up,” Kalpakavadi said.