The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) is making a bid to launch Farmers Protest 2.0, if its demands, including a law on minimum support price (MSP) are not met.
In a press conference on Sunday, the union leaders said that thousands of farmers would gather for the 'Kisan Mahapanchayat' on in New Delhi on Monday. The gathering aims to push for a legal guarantee on minimum support price (MSP).
According to an SKM statement, a significant number of farmers from various states are heading to Delhi to attend the event. SKM leader Darshan Pal, during a press conference, said the central government has not fulfilled its promise which it gave in writing on December 9, 2021.
The SKM has called for the dissolution of the MSP advisory committee, claiming it is contrary to their demands. Farmer leader Rakesh Tikait said that they did not demand an MSP committee, but rather a law guaranteeing MSP.
He also claimed that they had reduced the BJP's seats from eight to one in Muzaffarnagar and predicted a similar fate for the BJP across the country in the 2024 elections.
The leaders of SKM claim that millions of farmers from all over the country will join the Mahapanchayat.
Meanwhile, the central government invited the representatives for talks. A meeting was held between the Central Agriculture Minister, Narendra Singh Tomar and farmer leaders. However, no agreement seems to have been reached. After the meeting, farmer leaders said that if their demands are not met, they will organize a protest in 20-21 days.
The central government had passed three agricultural laws in September 2020, aimed at modernizing the agricultural sector and providing more freedom to farmers to sell their produce in the market.
However, certain vested interests alleged that these laws would lead to exploitation by large corporations. Despite the government's efforts to address the concerns, certain elements, particularly in Punjab, took advantage of the situation to fuel unrest.
Recognising the potential threat to national security, the Modi government withdrew the three farm laws in November 2021.
After the withdrawal of the laws, the government also formed a 29-member committee to provide recommendations on MSP.
The farmers' issue has been a weak spot for the Modi government. When it comes to progressive farming laws, the opposition groups and certain vested interests have been able to exploit the situation to portray the central government's pro-farmer initiatives as sinister schemes aimed at benefiting limited private players.
As a result, the Modi government has been forced onto the back foot, making it difficult for them to effectively implement policies and reforms in the agricultural sector.
In this election year, there may be attempts to once again rake up the farmers' issues, such as a legal guarantee for MSP and the withdrawal of the Electricity Bill, to fuel anti-government sentiments.
(with inputs from PTI)
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