UP: Three-Day Mahapadav Ends With Call to Prepare For Countrywide Protests
Lucknow: The third and final day of the farmers' and workers' Mahapadav, called by central trade unions and the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), witnessed a massive gathering of women scheme workers in Lucknow's Eco Garden. They demanded that they be recognised as regular workers, the legal guarantee of procurement of crops at minimum support price (MSP) based on the Swaminathan Commission's recommendations, roll-back of four labour codes for workers, more work under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), among other demands.
In Uttar Pradesh, multiple farmers' unions participated in the Mahapadav, including Uttar Pradesh Kisan Sabha, Bharatiya Kisan Union (Tikait Fraction), Akhil Bhartiya Kisan Mahasabha and Krantikari Kisan Union,
The trade unions included Centre of Trade Unions, Hind Mazdoor Sabha, Indian National Trade Union Congress, All India Coordination Committee of Trade Union, All India United Trade Union Center, Trade Union Coordination Centre and Self Employment Women's Association.
During November 26-28, thousands of women workers who are engaged as ASHAs (health workers), Anganwadi workers/helpers and mid-day meal cooks participated in the massive show of strength by workers and farmers from all over the state, fighting for a 25-point charter of demands including better wages and social security. They also urged for the withdrawal of anti-people policies like labour law changes, privatisation of the public sector, etc.
Farmers are also seeking loan waivers, crop insurance, a pension of Rs 10,000 per month, an increase in compensation for crop damage due to natural calamity and justice for Lakhimpur Kheri victims.
In the end, a resolution calling for workers to prepare for a countrywide indefinite strike was passed amidst thunderous applause if the government did not fulfil their demands in two months. A detailed action plan will be announced next month.
The protesters waited to meet Governor Anandiben Patel to discuss their demands. However, they could not meet Patel due to the latter's "busy schedule".
Meanwhile, a group of officials came to the protest site on behalf of the Governor and assured them they would hand over the memorandum to the Governor and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
"We could not get a response from the Governor to meet her in person, but a group of officers came to the protest site to whom we handed over a memorandum of demands. We read all our demands in front of workers and officers," state general secretary of All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) Mukut Singh told NewsClick.
When asked about Mahapadav's message, Singh added, "It was the first-ever three-day sit-in where workers and farmers gathered under one platform. We gave voice to all scheme workers who had no such platform to raise their voices. From this platform, we warned the government to fulfil all the promises made by them in the elections or during the farmers' protest in Delhi; otherwise, be ready for a bigger protest, and it will also impact the upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha polls."
Union leaders also gave a clear message that farmers and workers will not be divided between Hindus and Muslims.
Prem Nath Rai, general secretary of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), who was also a key organiser of the three-day Mahapadav speaking to NewsClick, said, "Mahapadav has given a good message that the workers and farmers of the state are together. Now, farmers and workers will protest at the district level with all these demands. We, as leaders, will try to make this bond grow stronger and not lose its colour.
Rai further said, "Workers from different sectors are fighting on their own, but now they will fight by helping each other."
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