Farmers, workers to march to Parliament on Wednesday

Protesters arriving at New Delhi. DH photo.

Four youths rode 2,700 km on a motorcycle starting from flood-hit Kerala, while around 5,000 people from Maharashtra's Nashik hired a train, to reach Delhi in order to march to the Parliament on Wednesday.

Along with thousands of farmers and workers, they will take part in the march to "either change policies or we will change the government". The march is being organised by the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), CITU and All India Agriculture Workers' Union.

The organisers claim that the first-ever joint rally by farmers and workers will see about 3 lakh people taking part. The rally will start from Ramlila Maidan to Parliament House, where they will announce the next course of action.

A 15-point charter has already been put out for the "Kisan-Mazdoor Sangharsh Rally", which covers curbing price rise, measures for employment generation, a minimum wage of Rs 18,000 per month and remunerative price for peasants, among other things.

CITU general secretary Tapan Sen said the government will face more protests in the coming days and a blueprint for this will be announced on Wednesday.

The four men who rode to Delhi are from Kerala's Palakkad's district and they had covered eight states to reach there, starting on August 29.

Their inspiration was the 'Long March' to Mumbai conducted in March, when Maharashtra farmers walked in huge numbers to protest anti-farmer policies.

One of the riders, Swaroop Kunnampully, is a student of post-graduation in engineering who had the won the Kerala government's best farmer award in 2016 and is a member of AIKS.

"I travelled to the region from where farmers came for the Long March. We are farmers ourselves and we embarked on this journey to understand the farmers' problems," he said.

What they learnt during their ride was that Kerala's farmers are better placed compared to others, even though nagging problems still exist there.

The farmers who had participated in the Long March reached Delhi in a special train on Tuesday, which they hired for Rs 34 lakh.

Organisers said the idea of booking a special train from Nashik to Delhi was that of AIKS former state president and sitting CPM MLA J P Gavit.

"To meet this expense, an appeal was made to peasants to contribute Rs 700 per head. Over 5,000 peasants made their contribution enthusiastically to make this novel endeavour a success," they said.

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Farmers, workers to march to Parliament on Wednesday

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