Activist Anna Hazare, who has repeatedly expressed his solidarity with the farmers protesting the new farm laws, Monday said he will start a hunger strike if demands such as giving autonomy to the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) and implementing the Minimum Support Price (MSP) recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission are not met.
In a letter written to Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Hazare has reminded the government of the promises made to him by Tomar’s predecessor Radha Mohan Singh in February 2019.
Hazare had launched a hunger strike over issues such as the appointment of Lokpal and improving farmers’ income on January 29, 2019. After eight days, then Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis, had met Hazare in Ralegan Siddhi with a letter from Singh, promising that a high-level committee, including former agriculture ministers and representatives of various farmers’ unions, would be formed to look into the issues, and a report prepared by October 2019.
“This (promise) has not been fulfilled. I have started thinking about relaunching the hunger strike. I will inform you about date and place of the agitation,” wrote Hazare.
Last week, in a video message, he had cautioned farmers’ leaders to not trust the promises made by the government, saying the written promises made to him by the PMO, the 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 in 2017. 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.
He also urged the protesters to remain peaceful as ay violence would give an opportunity to the government to crush the agitation by force.