Keeping an eye on the panchayat polls scheduled next year,the Trinamool Congress is set to float its farmers front.
To win farmers to its side,the Paschimbango Trinamool Kishan O Khetmojur Congress aims to rope in farmer leaders who have distanced themselves from the CPM and other Left parties.
The move comes at a time the CPM is leaving no stone unturned to recapture areas in the rural belt by cashing in on the issue of farmer suicides in the state. The Trinamool has realised that the CPM cannot be countered in these areas unless it has a strong base among the farmers. The distress sale of paddy has forced many farmers to end their lives and the state governments shoddy procurement of paddy at the minimum support price has given the CPM a moral boost to regain its support base.
Senior Trinamool leader and labour minister Purnendu Bose said the party aimed to make the farmers front operational at the block level much before the panchayat elections. The districts targeted by the Trinamool leaders to set up the front in the first stage are Burdwan,Hooghly,Nadia,East and West Midnapore,Murshidabad,North and South Dinajpur.
We believe that the initiatives taken by the Ma Mati Manush government for welfare of farmers would help us convince the farmer leaders who quit the Left parties out of frustration because of the Left Fronts anti-farmer policy to join us, Bose said.
District leaders will be asked to identify former Left farmer leaders who still have significant command over the areas. They will be requested to join the Trinamools farmer wing. To ensure this,we need to keep in mind that persons with vested interest do not find a place in the organisation. So this job has to be done with utmost care, Bose cautioned.
Trinamool sources said the activities to float the farmers front will be intensified once the Madhyamik examination is over. Our state-level leaders will tour districts to hold talks with district presidents. In later stages,the farmers front will be formed at the booth level. We will first hold a conference at the state level to officially announce the formation of the front, another Trinamool leader told The Indian Express.
The party will need to draw up a detailed agenda to reach out to the farmers. The state governments initiatives such as giving more Kisan Credit Cards to the farming community will be highlighted,the leader said. Steps taken by the government to stop sale of fertilisers in the black market and making manure available at registered outlets will also be highlighted.
A campaign against us is already on among the farmers over suicide. We have instructed our district leaders to start a counter-campaign by highlighting the steps the state government has taken for the welfare of the community. Setting up of Kisan Mandis and cold storages at block levels are some of the tools we will use to win them over, the Trinamool leader said.