Rajnath’s ‘Kisan Yatra’ Failed to Woo Distressed Vidarbha Farmers: Kishor Tiwari

By Pervez Bari, TwoCircles.net

Bhopal: The two-day Bharatiya Janata Party, (BJP), high profile “Kisan Yatra” followed by massive rally at Yavatmal failed to address the main issue of agrarian crisis of the Vidarbha region in Maharashtra.

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According to a Press released issued today by Nagpur-based Kishor Tiwari, president Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti, (VJAS), the BJP national president Rajnath Singh urged the gathering at the rally to vote his party in the next elections in order to get loan waiver. He also declared state BJP president Gopinath Munde as the next Maharashtra Chief Minister while Munde himself also urged the gathering to elect him as chief minister to get complete loan waiver.

However, the basic demands of the distressed cotton growing farmers were not even raised during the “Kisan Yatra” and rally too.

Earlier to this “Kisan Yatra” the then BJP national president L.K. Advani and in 2006 Rajnath Singh too had tried to woo Vidarbha farmers and took out “Kisan Yatra” but failed to follow-up the Vidarbha farm suicide issue at the national level. The local 10 MPs and 43 MLAs from Vidarbha also failed to press demands to address the ongoing Vidarbha agrarian crisis due to lack of clarity in policies and vision of BJP.

The BJP president Rajnath failed to clear his party’s stand on forthcoming SEZ in Vidarbha and massive ongoing Maharashtra Government programme of corporate farming promotion agenda.

Moreover, Gopinath Munde, who is being projected as the next Chief Minister, has reportedly urged the small farmers to give up the farming for big corporate houses entry in agriculture sector as farming has been not feasible for small farmers, Tiwari said.

It was expected that BJP chief Rajnath Singh would raise the main demand to start National Food Security Mission, (NFSM), and special outlay of “Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana, (RKVY), along with a comprehensive policy for land rights to landless, marginal farmers and tribals cultivating barren land of Vidarbha and the demand to allocate dedicated funds on the lines of AIBP. “The BJP should waive all debt of BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Karnataka states then they should press the demand in Maharashtra also”, Tiwari demanded.

It is unfortunate that the BJP having spent crores of rupees on this “Kisan Yatra” failed to demand food security, health security and employment opportunities to dying west Vidarbha farmers as at the ground level minimum food, medicine, social system support to minimum 4.34 lakh farm families, who are identified by administration as farmers in deep distress, Tiwari added.

Meanwhile, according to an agency report the BJP has vowed to step up farmers’ agitation through out the country seeking fair returns for their produce by adopting a new formula for fixing the minimum support price (MSP).

The formula for fixing the MSP should take the costs assessed by its Committee on Agriculture Costs and Prices (CACP) and an additional 50 per cent cost. If this is done, it would ensure fair returns for the farmers, a BJP spokesman reportedly told newspersons in New Delhi.

”The wrong policies of the UPA have caused immense damage to the agriculture sector, the backbone of the national economy by denying fair prices for the producers of food grains, pulses, sugarcane and cotton,” he said.

Paddy growers in 11 states were directly suffering the discrimination as the Government hiked the MSP for wheat ignoring the rice growing states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka Tamil Nadu, Chhatisgarh, Bihar, Assam, Orissa, West Bengal and Punjab who have to be content with Rs. 750 a quintal compared to Rs. 1000 for wheat.

Earlier, there was a parity in the MSP of wheat and sugar which is missing after the revision of the MSP for wheat, the spokesman said.

He also maintained that sugarcane growers in Maharashtra were getting half of Rs. 12,000 a tonne, the price they received in 1996 when the Shiv Sena-BJP coalition was in power in the state.

Today, the MSP for sugar is Rs. 560 a tonne. In Uttar Pradesh, farmers were yet to get their money for the cane they had supplied to the sugar mills.

Earlier, the BJP had demanded the government to bring the farmers under welfare net, their crops under insurance cover and pension for the aged growers.

These steps would prevent them from resorting to extreme steps like committing suicide, the spokesman added.

The party also wanted the Government to introduce micro irrigation systems in suicide-prone cotton belts of the country on a priority basis. ([email protected])