Thousands of farmers assembled in the national capital for two day protest on November 29 and 30, demanding debt relief and an increase in the Minimum Support Price for their produce. The farmers also demanded a special joint three-week long Parliamentary session on the agrarian crisis.
Wearing coloured caps, waving flags and some carrying photos of their dead relatives — those who have killed themselves under the burden of debts — the protesters raised slogans against the government. They marched amid tight security and gathered in Parliament Street where the politicians addressed them.
The march was not just a protest by the farmers but a show of united Opposition with several leaders like Rahul Gandhi, Farooq Abdullah, Arvind Kejriwal, Sitaram Yechury, Yogendra Yadav and Sharad Pawar addressing the farmers.
Leaders made scathing attacks on the Modi government, accusing them of being apathetic to the rights of farmers.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi said there are two challenges before India: the bleak future of its farmers and unemployment of its youth. He said that if Prime Minister Narendra Modi could forgive the debts of 15 industrialists, he is honour-bound to do so for its farmers too.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal attacked PM Narendra Modi and accused him of meddling in matters related to the governance of Delhi. He said if Prime Minister Narendra Modi had devoted even 10% of the attention he gives to industrialists, the farmers would not have taken to the streets. “Modi is harmful for Delhi and Delhiites,” said Kejriwal.
Highlighting the inadequacy and false promises made by the BJP government, Sitaram Yechury, General Secretary of the CPI (M), said “Agricultural growth was already slow in other governments. However, in the last five years, agricultural growth has seen a decline like no other. It has come down from 5.2 % to 2.5%. Not just this, the BJP government instead functioned to protect the interests of big corporates by doling them benefits, big chunks of land in the name of industrial growth and development projects.”
Raju Shetti, MP from Maharashtra in the Lok Sabha and leader of the Swabhiman Shetkari Sangathana, while addressing the farmers, said “Aaj Kisaan yahan pe nange aaye hai, aur asliyat ye hai ki kisaanon ne iss sarkaar ko nanga kardiya hai. Ye hakikat leke hum yahan aaye hai, Narendra Modi ko chetawani dene.”
He added, “Desh ki azaadi ke baad pehli baar kisan iss tarah ek manch pe aaye hai. Agle saal lal quile se bhashan kaun dega ye ab kisan tai karenge.”