The Khedut Samaj, Gujarat (KSG), which used to be headed by former minister and veteran Congress leader Sanath Mehta until his death in 2015, has decided to field 20 candidates, mostly in south Gujarat, in the Assembly elections.
“Our organisation is non-political in nature, but our motto is that the issues of farmers should be taken up in the Assembly. The present BJP government’s policies are anti-farmers. When the Congress was in power, their policies were also not in favour of the farmers. So, we have decided to field our candidates in the Assembly elections,” said KSG president Jayesh Patel, adding the candidates who will run as Independents.
In the last few years, the outfit has been raising farmers’ issues like irrigation, land acquisition and better prices for agriculture produce among others.
“We fought against the Gujarat government’s decision to acquire land for special investment region in Hazira and we achieved success. At present, our leaders, in association with local farmers, have started a movement against land acquisition for Vadodara-Mumbai expressway. Our organisation is also against the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor project,” he said, adding that they are trying to bring all the farmers under one umbrella of KGS.
Patel had contested the last Assembly election from Olpad on a Congress ticket, but was defeated by BJP.
According to him, the KSG has “well established” network in North Gujarat, Saurashtra and South Gujarat.
“Our organisation is known in 26 districts. We are strong in in South Gujarat districts like Surat, Valsad, Tapi, Navsari, Bharuch. This will be for the first time we will field our candidates in the Assembly election,” said Surat district Sayan Sugar Co-operative society director and KSG leader Darshan Naik, who is counting on farmers’ support.