VETERAN activist Anna Hazare has urged farmers across the country to come out on the streets to join the ongoing farmers’ agitation presently concentrated in Delhi outskirts saying such agitations “do not happen again and again” and that this was the right time to pressure the government to resolve the farmers’ issues “once and for all”.
Hazare, who became a household name in 2010-2013 with the anti-corruption movement headed by him which is often credited with helping Narendra Modi’s BJP defeat the UPA alliance, said that since 2017 the Modi government made several promises on his demands pertaining to the agricultural sector but has not implemented a single one.
Speaking in Ralegan Siddhi, the 83-year-old activist recounted the two meetings that he held with Union agricultural ministers in March 2017 and February 2019 and received letters from the PMO promising to act on his demands of giving autonomy to the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) and implementing the recommendations of Swaminathan Commission, but never acted on them.
“Hence, my request to farmers is that it’s important that the agitation going on in Delhi should spread across the country. Pinch the government’s nose so that it opens its mouth. For this, it’s important that farmers across the country come out on roads. Then only the issues will be resolved for all times,” said Hazare.
He also cautioned the farmers’ leaders to not trust the promises made by the government saying the written promises made to him by the PMO, Union minister of agriculture and other ministers were never acted upon.
“I staged a protest and started a fast-unto-death on March 23 at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi. After seven days of the agitation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave me a letter via the then Agriculture Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and others promising me that CACP will be given autonomy and the MSP will be fixed at c2+50 per cent (c2 is a weighted average of the cost of production),” said Hazare.
Hazare said that after the government failed to act on the promises, he again staged an agitation in Ralegan Siddhi on January 29, 2019. “Again after seven days, the minister came to meet me and promised to constitute another high-level committee by inviting former agriculture ministers and representatives of various farmers’ unions and present the report before October 2019. Nothing of this happened,” said Hazare.
He said that he supports the farmers’ cause and he will start an agitation if these demands remain unfulfilled. He also urged the protesters to remain peaceful as resorting to violence will give an opportunity to the government to crush the agitation by force.
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