Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Kisan Long March in Maharashtra ends with success, left body says govt forced to accept demands

The All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) has congratulated the farmers of Maharashtra on Saturday for their successful Kisan Long March, which began on March 12, 2023, from Nashik to Mumbai.

The march was based on a 15-point charter of demands, including remunerative prices for onions, cotton, soya-bean, tur (arhar), green gram, milk, and the strict implementation of the Forest Rights Act and other land rights-related issues. Other demands were related to loan waivers, electricity, crop insurance, and an increase in old-age pensions and scheme workers’ wages.

On March 16, a 16-member AIKS delegation met with the Maharashtra Chief Minister, Deputy CM, and six other ministers with several top officials at the State Assembly in Mumbai.

The State Government was forced to accede to most of the 15-point charter of demands, including a subsidy of Rs. 350 per quintal for onion, the waiver of loans for over 88,000 farmers who did not benefit from earlier loan waivers, and the creation of a committee for ensuring forest rights with two representatives of the AIKS included, said the AIKS President, Ashok Dhawale, and the General Secretary, Vijoo Krishnan.

The AIKS refused to withdraw the Kisan Long March and decided to sit-in at Vashind, District Thane until the minutes of the decisions of the meeting were not placed on the floor of the State Assembly, and instructions about their implementation were not sent out to all district officials.

In the face of such a resolute decision by the AIKS, the Chief Minister was forced on March 17 to announce all the decisions in the Legislative Assembly, the farmers body said.

The AIKS said it has received a copy of the decisions, and the government has also issued the same to the concerned authorities.

As a result of this significant victory, the Kisan Long March was withdrawn on March 18, they announced.

The left body said the AIKS-led Kisan Long March in 2018 had forced the then BJP-led State Government to accept almost all demands. In 2023, the poor peasants, including a large number of Adivasis, with women leading from the front, have forced the Shiv Sena-BJP Government to bow down and accept their demands, it said.

This victory is expected to inspire militant struggles against the anti-people BJP Government and its pro-corporate policies, said Ashok Dhawale and Vijoo Krishnan.

It will also inspire the working class and the peasantry to come out in bigger numbers in all forthcoming struggles, coming just a fortnight before the Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Rally at Delhi, they said in the statement.

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