The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) on Friday staged a demonstration in Thane demanding that the farmers be given permissions to sell their produce in the cities directly. The party also accused the local BJP leaders of exploiting farmers.
The protest, led by MNS leader Bala Nandgaonkar, commenced from Gamdevi ground at 2.45 pm to culminate outside the office of District Collector in Thane.
Claiming that the drought this year was more severe than that of 1972, Nandgaonkar said, “In such a scenario, there is nothing wrong if the farmers are coming to sell their produce directly to the people in the cities. There is no need to politicise it. But, such an incident has happened in Thane and that has resulted in losses for a farmer.”
The MNS protest comes after a clash broke out between the activists of the party and BJP over a mango stall set up by farmers in Thane in last week. The local authorities, accompanied by BJP workers, had allegedly seized fruit from the stalls.
On Thursday, MNS chief Raj Thackeray alleged that a farmer from Ratnagiri, who had been coming to sell mangoes in Thane over the past three years, was removed by BJP’s corporators and local leaders, his goods were seized and licence cancelled.
Activists from Raju Shetty-led Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS) were also present in the protest. SSS activist Ananda Kadam claimed that more than 1,000 farmers came from Sangli and Kolhapur to participate in the protest.
“Whenever there are farmers’ protest, we always support them. That’s why we have come here in support of farmers, who are exploited by politicians while selling their produce,” Bhagwat Jadhav, an SSS activist from Walva in Sangli, said.