Farmer unions protesting against the new agriculture laws announced on Tuesday that they will send teams to election-bound states to ask people to vote against the Bharatiya Janata Party, ANI reported. Elections to the Assemblies of Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal and Union Territory of Puducherry, will be held from March 27 till April 29.
Tens of thousands of farmers have been camped outside Delhi for nearly three months, demanding the withdrawal of the three legislations that they say will hurt them and benefit large corporations.
“We will not support any party but appeal to people to vote for the candidates who can defeat BJP,” Balbir Singh Rajewal of the Bharatiya Kisan Union said at a joint press conference. “We will tell people about Modi government’s attitude towards farmers.”
Swaraj India chief Yogendra Yadav also echoed the decision, suggesting that the Narendra Modi-led Central government “only understands the language of elections”. “We will go to five states and tell people how [the] government treated farmers,” Yadav added.
Yadav also said that the farmer bodies will block the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal Expressway at various points on March 6 to mark 100 days of the farmers’ agitation, ANI reported.
The blocking of roads on Saturday will be done between 11 am and 4 pm, Yadav said. He added that the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of the farmers’ unions, have finalised their programmes till March 15.
“Toll plazas here will also be freed up from collecting toll fees,” a press statement from the Samyukt Kisan Morch said. “In rest of India, the day will be marked by flying black flags on houses and offices to signify support to the movement, and to protest against the government.”
The statement said that International Women’s Day on March 8 will be marked as “Mahila Kisan Diwas” by the farmer bodies. “All SKM protest sites across the country will witness greater participation of women on that day, and it will be women who will manage the stages and will be speakers,” it said.
The farmers’ body will also launch an initiative called “MSP Dilao Abhiyan”, to reiterate their demand of codifying the guarantee of minimum support price in the laws. The campaign will first be launched in the three southern states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the statement said.
The farmers believe that the new laws undermine their livelihood and open the path for the corporate sector to dominate the agricultural sector. The government, on the other hand, maintains that the new laws will give farmers more options in selling their produce, lead to better pricing, and free them from unfair monopolies. The laws are meant to overhaul antiquated procurement procedures and open up the market, the government has claimed.