Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh Kisan Sabha (UPKS) will be holding a ‘Maha Padayatra’ to express solidarity with the farmers protesting against the three farm laws at Delhi borders, as well as to ‘expose’ central government propaganda about the laws.
The All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) took the decision to embark on a 95-km padayatra to the national capital -- an epicentre of farmers’ agitation -- from Mathura and Bulandshahar in Uttar Pradesh to join the protests at Palwal and Ghazipur border. The decision was taken in Lucknow on Friday during the state committee meeting. It was presided over by AIKS president Bharat Singh. The UPKS is affiliated to the AIKS, which is part of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha.
“The proposed Maha Padayatra will leave from two districts of Uttar Pradesh — Mathura and Bulandshahr -- on March 18 and arrive at Palwal and Ghazipur borders on March 22 after traversing around 90 km covering as many as four districts in a span of four days,” UPKS general secretary Mukut Singh told Newsclick.
When questioned about the need for the Padayatra, Singh said, “Farmers in rural areas have some misconceptions about MSP, what the government is saying and what farmer leaders are saying. We have to dispel the myths, which is the reason that necessitated us to take out the Maha Padayatra.”
Echoing similar sentiments, UPKS president Bharat Singh said, “During our padayatra, we will have a group of farm laws experts who will explain each and every clause of the three farm laws in the simplest language to the people and farmers. We will reach our destinations while distributing posters and pamphlets.”
Praising the farmer's leaders for organising the 'mahapanchayat' in Western Uttar Pradesh and bursting the agriculture bubble, the UPKS president said, "Honestly, despite organising series of mahapanchayats in Western Uttar Pradesh and Eastern Uttar Pradesh's Barabanki district, we realised that still there is lack of awareness among farmers as well as common citizens about the three farm laws and we want to make clear every doubt about these laws and ensure that these laws are understood as not at all being in favour of farmers as propagated by the central government.” He added that they have roped in agriculture experts who will travel with the padayatra visiting villages and clearing the ‘myths’ about the laws.
Meanwhile, P Krishnaprasad, finance secretary of AIKS and a Communist Party of India (Marxist) MLA, addressed the state committee meeting of UPKS and said that the farmers' struggle has brought the agrarian agenda into the national debate. The demand for the Minimum Support Price (MSP) is vital for the sustenance of peasant households. The farmers' protest has put the Narendra Modi government on the defensive, he added.
“The Modi government has failed to implement its promise of [email protected]+50% with procurement. Hence farmers are forced to sell their crop below MSP, thus being exploited in the markets. The struggle will continue and be further intensified till the Modi government agrees to enact the MSP guarantee law,” Krishnaprasad said.
The meeting also strongly criticised the ban on the cattle trade for the declining income of the farmers. The fuel price hike is unbearable for the people. The meeting strongly condemned the series of atrocities on women and girl children under the Yogi Raj and decided to organise a protest on March 8, International Woman's Day. And on March 12, a protest on fuel price hike is planned in different districts of the state.
Meanwhile, a similar initiative by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) is being followed. They started a 22-day 'tractor march' in 16 districts of the state and Uttarakhand under the banner of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU). It was started from Ramraj in Muzaffarnagar district on Saturday, March 6, and will go to Rudrapur in Udham Singh Nagar district of Uttarakhand via traversing a dozen of the districts including Bijnor, Moradabad, Rampur and Hapur. On March 27, the march will reach the Ghazipur border where farmers have been camping for the last 100 days.