MP farmers begin strike, Shivkumar rules out dialogue with Government


Bhopal, With peasants in Madhya Pradesh beginning their 10-day ‘Gaon Bandh’ agitation today, Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangh (RKMS) President Shivkumar Sharma said that protesting farmers would not engage in any dialogue with the regime. “We are not going to engage in any dialogue with the state government during this agitation. The dispensation is not worthy to be relied upon,” said Mr Sharma while addressing a press conference here. “The regime should issue an order on our demands if it considers them as genuine. Providing that it happens, the Sangh would convene a meeting and decide on the further course of agitation,” he said. Mr Sharma said that the decision with regards to the agitation was taken during a meeting of 130 farmers’ organisations in Wardha in Maharashtra. “Accordingly, no farmer would bring vegetables, fruits, milk and other commodities to towns. The last year’s agitation is the basis for this year’s protest as well,” he said. Meanwhile, cracks emerged among farmers’ organisations, as the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) held another press conference later and charged Mr Sharma of trying to steal the credit for the agitation. “As soon as the fielding is set by us, Mr Sharma dons the mantle of the captain,” BKU General Secretary Anil Yadav said. “This is an agitation by farmers and not by the Congress or any other party. The government is trying to mislead in the name of the Congress. In fact, the Congress should have done the work that is being done by us,” he said. Apprehending that the direction of agitation is not changed for the sake of votes, Mr Yadav said that peasants have been cautioned against this. He said that the agitation would continue if the government did not agree to their demands by June 10. The main demands of the agitating farmers include remunerative prices for produce, loan waiver of debt-ridden farmers, ensuring a minimum income for small peasants and one-and-half time price above cost for vegetables, fruits and milk. Earlier, Mr Sharma said that the Sangh had no intention of creating inconvenience for public. Nonetheless, the agitation is in the support of demands of agriculturists, who are forced to commit suicide. He alleged that the Chief Minister and a farmers’ body affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh had cheated peasants in Ujjain on June 5 last year. Therefore, agriculturists would observe this day as ‘Vishwasghat Diwas (Betrayal Day).’ Likewise, the next day would be observed as ‘Shahadat Diwas (Matrydom Day) in the memory of peasants killed during firing in Mandsaur on June 6 last year. Besides, June 8 would be observed as ‘Dhikkar Diwas (Condemnation Day). “In addition, a call has been given for a Bharat Bandh on June 10 till 1400 hrs. Further strategy would be chalked out later,” said Mr Sharma. In replying to a query, he said that the government would have suppressed the agitation had the farmers taken to roads. The Sangh has made every attempt to ensure that the agitation does not become violent. Responding to another query, Mr Sharma said that the government trying to escape its responsibility by levelling allegations on the Congress. He said that the government is purchasing sugar from Pakistan while sugarcane growers in the country are facing hardships.