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Sena, MNS pledge support to Kisan Morcha; Govt deputes senior Minister Girish Mahajan

Monday, March 12, 2018
By Suyash Padate and Prashant Hamine. Photographs by Santosh Gupta

Setting aside its past history of being anti-left, the Shiv Sena yesterday pledged its full support to the Left-led Long March of Kisan Sabha. Sena deputed its newly-anointed Sena leader, Yuva Sena President Aaditya Thackeray to meet the farmers at Vikhroli.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis late yesterday evening held a high level meeting of his senior cabinet colleagues and senior bureaucrats at his official residence Varsha. Fadnavis stated that the government is positive towards the Farmers demands. Chief Minister has constituted a six member committee of his senior cabinet colleagues who will look into the demands of the Farmers. Fadnavis will hold talks with the delegation of the Farmers today.

Addressing the farmers Aaditya Thackeray pledged support to the farmers cause and added that the Sena shared the same anguish as the farmers did. He added that the Sena will stand by them shoulder to shoulder in their agitation for their just demands. Close on the heels of Sena, its rival Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) too pledged its support to the farmers Morcha that began a week ago from Nashik. MNS president Raj Thackeray spoke to Kisan Morcha leader Dr Ashok Navale on the phone and pledged his party's support.

The state government deputed senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Minister for Water Resources Girish Mahajan to hold preliminary talks with the representatives of the Kisan Morcha. Mahajan met the farmers at Vikhroli and assured them that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis would hold talks with the farmers delegation today whilst extending an  invitation for talks with the government. Preliminary talks were held between Mahajan and Kisan Morcha delegation led by Dr Ajit Navale, Dr Ashok Dhawale, Jayant Patil (PWP-I), Kapil Patil (JD-U) and G P Gavit (CPI-M) and others. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis summoned Minister for Agriculture Pandurang Phundkar back to Mumbai from Akola for possible late night talks.

Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray stated that like the farmers had their feet planted to the ground, the Sena too was connected to the grassroots. He said that the Sena Ministers were here to ease their fatigue and added that all the Shivsainiks will extend all possible help to them to ease their pain and fatigue. Aaditya Thackeray stated that though they belonged to different political ideologies they shared a common pain. Earlier, senior Sena Minister for Public Works Eknath Shinde announced that it was Sena president Uddhav Thackeray who announced Sena support to the farmers Morcha.

The Kisan Morcha has taken out the farmers long march to demand  unconditional complete loan waiver, better minimum assured support price for agricultural produce, concessions to children of farmers in education, rights over lands cultivated by farmers, one and half times assured price for farm produce, implementation of the Swaminathan Commission recommendations, implementation of the Rights over Forest Act, diverting flow of westward flowing rivers to eastern Maharashtra and others.

Significantly, the Congress and NCP have also announced their support to the Long March. The NCP chief and former Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar has declared unconditional support to the farmers rally. Pawar said, “The state government has claimed to have given the loan waiver, but no beneficiaries can be seen. The mortgage remark of banks for the loans on the 7/12 extract of the farmers is still there. The notices issued by the banks for loan repayment to farmers have not been withdrawn. The farmers’ credit in the market also remains lowest till date”.

“The government is pushing farmers to the brink of suicide. We do not want anything from the government except that farmers should get a reasonable price for their produce,” he added further.

Pawar also made it clear that state NCP president Sunil Tatkare and Dhananjay Munde will attend the concluding part of the rally on behalf of the party.

The Congress has also extended it's support to the farmers Long March. State Congress president Ashok Chavan while supporting the farmers' march categorically stated that the government should leave its stubborn attitude and accept the demands of agrarian community.  

Mario Rodrigues, a BCS Vikhroli unit member, said the Bombay Catholic Sabha, Vikhroli unit collaborated with Fr Simon Lopes ex-Spiritual Director of the BCS Vikhroli, currently Principal of St. Xavier school, Bhandup, in helping the farmers who are on a protest walk. Volunteers helped in distributing biscuits and water for 25,000 farmers, who are on the agitation march and have come from Nasik to Mumbai. Help was provided to the farmers at the Vikhroli Eastern Express highway junction. The BCS Vikhroli supports the farmers agitation to have their demands fulfilled and requests the state government to solve their long standing demands.

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