Farmer leader apologises for calling off stir; strike continues

Farmer leader apologises for calling off stir; strike continues

Farmer leader apologises for calling off stir; strike continues
Facing a flak from farmers across the state, Jayaji Suryavanshi, who led a delegation to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today apologised for calling off the stir.

The Maharashtra Kisan Sabha announced that the strike will be intensified in the coming days.

"The strike was only called off temporarily. But, if farmers want to continue, I am with them. I have made a mistake but do not hesitate to apologise to farmers because I am their son," Suryavanshi told reporters here.

Ashok Dhawale, Vice President of Maharashtra State Kisan Council said that the decision to call off the strike was taken single handedly and was a "betrayal" of farmers.

"Out of a total farmers organisations that have taken part in the strike across the state, representatives of merely 3-4 of them went to meet the CM yesterday.

"The outcome of the meeting had been already decided when the members went to have dinner at the official residence of Minister of State for Agriculture Sadabhau Khot," Dhawale told reporters here.

He said Suryavanshi misled farmers of the state and created confusion among them and it will take Maharashtra Kisan Council four days to re-organise other organisations to intensify the strike.

"Till then, there will be protests in the form of rasta roko, bandhs, morchas and locking of tehsil offices," he said.

Ajit Navle, a member of Maharashtra Kisan Sabha, who was part of the delegation that met Fadnavis last night, said the Chief Minister did not agree to a single demand substantively for which lakhs of farmers had gone on strike.

He said that contrary to what has been understood by media, Fadnavis has only set up a committee that will study the repercussions of loan waiver for farmers with marginal land holdings.

"In the first place, this decision, if taken, will not help farmers in Vidarbha and Marathwada who have large land holdings and from where most suicides have been reported. Even in Western Maharashtra, according to the CM, only pending loan amount will be waived.

"Everybody knows that the number of such farmers is negligible," he said.

He said Fadnavis has categorically refused pension for farmers but has agreed to withdraw cases of protests lodged only against farmers.

The CM made it clear that cases against political persons who protested for the rights of farmers will not be withdrawn, he said.

"With regards to the CM's decision on a law to charge those who buy below the Minimum Support Price, he has cleverly minced words and said such offences will be lodged only against traders. Whereas, it is the government's responsibility to buy the goods when the prices of agricultural produce falls," he added.