Massive farmers rally to oppose Modi's bullet train project

Massive farmers rally to oppose Modi's bullet train project

Farmers shout slogans against the government at a rally organised by All India Kisan Sabha in Mumbai. Reuters File Photo

In a bid to mount pressure on the BJP-led Centre and the Maharashtra government, nearly 50,000 farmers will converge in Dahanu in Palghar district, nearly 150 km from Mumbai, to highlight the plight of the farming community.

The rally, being organised by the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), would also oppose key projects like the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project, the dream project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the Nagpur-Mumbai super-communication expressway and the Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg, the brainchild of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

The morcha's preparation is being overseen by the AIKS Thane-Palghar District Council.

The morcha is a follow-up of the March 6-12 180 km march by farmers, a majority of them tribals, from CBS Chowk in Nashik to Azad Maidan in Mumbai.

"There are a whole lot of farmers issues. Besides there are elitist projects for which land is being acquired, like the bullet train project and the Samruddhi acquisition is taking place for these projects, including the twin districts of Thane and Palghar," AIKS president Dr Ashok Dhawale told DH.

Thursday's rally will begin at Sagar Naka and will culminate at the Suru Baug near Paar Naka, Dahanu.

Dhawale, presently a CPM central committee member, was unanimously elected as president of AIKS at its national conference in Hissar, Haryana, last year.

This rally will be led by AIKS national and state leaders like Dhawale, MLA Jiva Pandurang Gavit, Kisan Gujar and Dr Ajit Nawale as well as leaders of Left parties like the CPM and PWP - former MP Nilotpal Basu, former MLA Narasayya Adam, MLC Jayant Patil, Mahendra Singh and Mariam Dhawale.

"Over 50,000 farmers from all over Maharashtra walked from Nashik to Mumbai for seven days. The discipline that the peaceful march displayed and the night march taken to help the students of class X, so that their board exam does not get disrupted, was very well received by the people all over the state and the country. As a result of the massive support of the people, the state government had to bow down and accept the demands of the farmers....while some issues are being addressed, this rally is a follow-up of the same," Dhawale said.

The timing of the rally is significant, as the Palghar-ST constituency goes to bypolls on May 28. The polls have been necessitated due to the death of BJP MP Chintaman Vanga.

The two bypolls, Palghar-ST and Bhandara-Gondiya, where it is necessitated as BJP MP Nana Patole quit and joined the Congress, are crucial and prestigious for the ruling BJP.
The Congress is contesting the Palghar seat with the support of Sharad Pawar-led NCP. The Shiv Sena, however, is not backing the BJP candidate.