The farmers’ agitation in the state is now seeing growing contradictions and differences among the 35 political and social organisations that are part of the protest. Early cracks in the agitation became evident on Saturday when some members of the new committee opposed the move to meet the government on Sunday. The dissenting members stayed away from the internal meeting that the core committee had called in Mumbai on Saturday to formulate their strategy for Sunday’s meeting.
“Hundreds of farmers had been booked during the agitation. The core committee had earlier decided that there would be no talks with the government until the cases against these farmers were withdrawn. Inspite of that, a section of leaders has decided to meet the government,” Dr Giridhar Patil, a dissenting member of the core committee, said. Along with Patil, other members like Anil Dhanwat, Ramchandra Bapu Patil and Dr Budhajirao Mulik did not attend the core committee meeting.
“It is premature to go for talks as we still do not have a focused plan on what we are seeking from the state. It is also difficult to put across your point in the meeting because some sections that have hijacked the movement do not allow people to speak. I did not go for discussions because the committee already seems to have made up its mind about the fact that it will talk to the government,” Patil added.
A section of the committee leaders has been claiming that rather than ask for financial sops, like loan waiver or free electricity, the farmers should demand fundamental changes in the way the agricultural sector in the country has operated for years. However, there has been a backlash with an online campaign having begun against the dissenting leaders with their numbers being posted on social media.
Lok Sabha MP Raju Shetti who has shown willingness to talk to the government has said that he is ready to step out of the committee if farmers were unhappy with his presence. “If people think that I am a political persona and are opposing me because of that, then they should know that I do not have anything to do with this government. I am fighting my own fight against the establishment.
However, if people are unhappy about my presence, I am more than happy to withdraw myself,” Shetti said. The two-week-old agitation has been wrecked by internal dissension. The first phase of the agitation fizzled out and its entire leadership was booted out after they held talks with the government and announced that the protest was being called off. Subsequntly, a new set of leaders emerged who are leading the second phase of the agitation.
Nearly 35 political, social and farmers’ organisation across the political spectrum and ideological leanings are part of the present movement. With no single binding force, the chinks in the alliance have now started showing.