A GROUP of 11 individuals claiming to be from the ongoing farmers’ protests visited activist Anna Hazare at his village in Ralegan Siddhi in Ahmednagar district on Saturday and demanded that he join the farmers’ protest at one of the several venues near the national capital. They said that Hazare joining the agitation will strengthen the movement, which has reached a deadlock.
Hazare, 83, told the ‘delegation’ that he was in total support of the farmers and has held two agitations over farm issues in the last few years. He also told them that he has already written to Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar, giving an “ultimatum” that if the promise made to him (Hazare) by the Union Agriculture ministry earlier — over implementing recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission and granting autonomy to the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) — are not met, he “will launch one last agitation of his life in Delhi”.
Among those who visited Ralegan Siddhi on Saturday morning were Pankaj Prakash Shrivastav (Bihar), Rajratan Shinde (Maharashtra), Mohit Sharma (Delhi), Pradeep Meti, Kirankumar Verma and Satishkumar Raj Purohit (Karnataka).
According to Sanjay Pathade, an aide of Hazare, the villagers had received information on Friday night that a group of farmers was on its way to Ralegan Siddhi to protest against Hazare staying away from the farmers’ protest. “They had a detailed conversation with him over the issues,” said Pathade.
He said the ‘delegation’ requested Hazare to reach one of the several venues of the protest around Delhi for “at least one day”. Hazare told them that considering his health, the pandemic situation and the severe cold in Delhi, he would not be able to join the protest immediately.
“I have written to the central government and I may start a hunger strike at Ramlila Maidan or Jantar Mantar if promises made earlier about the farm issues are not met,” Pathade quoted Hazare as saying.
Earlier this month, Hazare had publicly supported the protesters and cautioned them not to trust any verbal or written promises of the government. He had also appealed to farmers across the country to join the agitating farmers.
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