Just when the Narendra Modi led government decided to mark their third anniversary in the state, farmers in Maharashtra announced their strike from June 1, 2017. The primary reason according to Raju Shetty, founder of Swabhimani Shetkari Sangathana (SSS) and MP from Hatkanangle, said, “Maharashtra’s farmers are feeling ‘let-down and betrayed’ in the three years of Modi rule.
Certain groups of famers and political parties (including those who are alliance with the BJP) have called for unique ways of protests during ‘Shivar Samvad Yatra’ (Farm Dialogue March) to embarrass the BJP. Swambhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS), on May 22, launched a ‘self-atonement march’ from Pune to Mumbai to ‘compensate for the blunder of allying with the BJP and supporting Narendra Modi’.
Shetty during the launch said, “Farmers believed in Modi and the promises that he made during the 2014 election campaign. But he has betrayed our faith and we have launched this protest to compensate for our mistake of believing him.”
A BJP minister, on the basis of anonymity, refuted Shetty’s allegations citing ‘internal troubles within the SSS.”
The farmers have decided to cultivate only necessary commodities and stop their daily supplies of farm commodities like milk, fruits, eggs and poultry, and vegetables to the markets in neighbouring cities.
“The real reasons behind the strike are lack of remunerative prices for farm produce, regional imbalances in credit disbursement, and farmers’ failure to repay debt due to wrong cropping pattern encouraged by the government policies. All these years, farmers committed suicides to lodge their protest but now, time has come to make this an active protest by striking work,” said Raghu Patil, Shetkari Sangathana leader.