Farmers decide to talk to government, agitation continues for now

Farmers decide to talk to government, agitation continues for now
The farmer's groups and leaders of Maharashtra have decided to open a channel of dialogue with the government and discuss the issue of loan waiver, implementation of the recommendations of MS Swaminathan committee, and ensure fresh loans coinciding with the monsoon.

The steering committee of various farmers' groups arrived in Mumbai and held a meeting for several hours on Saturday in which they decided to hold a meeting with the six-member high-powered Group of Ministers appointed by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

On Sunday, they would meet the committee headed by Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil and comprising of Agriculture Minister Pandurang Pundkar, Finance, Planning and Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, Co-operation Minister Subhash Deshmukh, Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan - all from BJP and Transport Minister Diwakar Raote of Shiv Sena.

As far as the 12 June protest at all tehsildar and collector offices and the 13 June state-wide rail-roko continues, however, the core committee would take a final call after the meeting with the committee.

After a marathon meeting, Swabhimani Shetkari Sangathana leader Raju Shetti, Peasants and Workers' Party chief Jayant Patil and farmers' leader Raghunathdada Patil, announced the decision to go for the meeting following an invitation from the Maharashtra government. They also denied any rift and said that most of the leaders and groups were represented in the meeting.

"As announced earlier our agitation continues...we would go for the meeting and take a call as after the stand of the government...we need to hear out the government," Shetti said.

Agricultural economist Giridhar Patil took objection to the decision-making the process of steering committee accusing it of being politically motivated instead of driven by farm issues. He along with President of Shetkari Sanghatana Anil Ghanvat, Dr Budhajirao Mulik and Ramchandra Patil said that they boycotted Saturday's meeting.

“The farmers have formed the steering committee with a great trust. But, many of the members of the committee are politically motivated and are acting in their own interest than pursuing the interests of the farmers. Hence, I’ve decided not to attend today’s meeting,” Patil told reporters at Nashik. Activist and farmer's leader Bacchu Kadu could not be present at the meeting because of some prior engagements.


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