With the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) so far not part of the united Opposition taking shape over the forthcoming Presidential elections, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Friday met Delhi Chief Minister and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal to discuss the issue, as also draw the party into participating in a joint protest on the agrarian crisis.
Kejriwal is learnt to have agreed to join hands with the Opposition on both Presidential polls and a possible joint protest on the farmers’ issue in the coming days.
The police firing in Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh that led to the death of several farmers has brought the issue of farmer unrest into national focus, and Opposition parties are planning a joint campaign to highlight the agrarian distress.
While one-on-one discussions are on between various leaders, a structured meeting of the Opposition parties could happen soon to arrive at a consensus on an Opposition candidate for President and Vice-President, sources said. “There are several parties involved…so a consensus will take time,” a senior opposition leader said.
Opposition leaders are also planning a joint public action to highlight agrarian distress. Top leaders of various parties could visit places where farmers are holding agitations to show solidarity with them. Sources said that Opposition leaders could visit, among other places, Mandola village in Ghaziabad, where farmers are demanding compensation for their land acquired for a housing scheme.
According to sources, the All India Kisan Sabha, the CPI(M) farmers’ wing, has also reached out to various peasant outfits, irrespective of ideological affiliations, for a meeting on June 16 to draw a common action programme to press their demands. The two items on the agenda are learnt to be remission of farm loans and the fixing of minimum support price (MSP) by ensuring 50 per cent profit to farmers.
Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangh chief Shivkumar Sharma “Kakkaji” is also in Delhi to involve over 60 farmers’ organisations in the current agitation. Sharma is a former office-bearer of the RSS-affiliated Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) and was expelled for leading a violent agitation in Raisen district, Madhya Pradesh, in 2012.
The Congress Friday stepped up its attack on the BJP government in MP over police firing in Mandsaur. At a party briefing, spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi and AICC secretary Jeetu Patwari demanded Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s resignation. Rahul Gandhi had ridden pillion on a motorcycle with Patwari to enter Madhya Pradesh from Rajasthan on Thursday.