Karnataka: In solidarity with the protesting farmers at Delhi borders seeking revocation of three contentious agricultural laws introduced by the Government of India (GoI), farmers in Karnataka have planned a massive tractor rally in Bengaluru on Republic Day.
The farmer unions have planned a tractor rally on January 26 comprising tens of thousands of farmers to push for the repeal of the three laws.
According to a report by The Indian Express, there would be over 10,000 tractors participating in the parade on January 26.
“Around 25,000 farmers will enter Bengaluru and reach Freedom Park through the main roads of the city via Yeshwanthpur and Malleswaram. The parade will be held from Nelamangala to Bengaluru, with farmers arriving in more than 10,000 tractors and other vehicles. The parade is planned to begin soon after the chief minister hoists the national flag,” the report quoted Kodihalli Chandrashekhar, leader of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS), as saying.
He further said: “Farmers from Mysuru and other districts will also take part in the rally. Irrespective of the organisations that farmers are affiliated to, the rally will be a united movement.”
The report quoting hi further said that protesters would refrain from violence, and hence, “there is no reason for the police and authorities to deny us permission”.
Meanwhile, around 100 farmers from Mysuru, Chamarajanagar and Hassan have left the state to take part in the tractor parade planned by farmers in the national capital on Republic Day.
The delegation, led by farmers’ leader Manje Gowda, is expected to be joined by another 100 to 200 people, according to Karnataka State Sugarcane Farmers’ Association president Kurubur Shanthakumar, the report said.
“While the first group has left in four vehicles with 50 kg of rice, 40 kg of vegetables, coconuts, and medicine, the second group is expected to leave the state by train,” he added.
Earlier on Wednesday, hundreds of farmers joined Congress workers in rallies across Bengaluru to express solidarity with their counterparts on the fringes of Delhi.
Pertinently, anger against the GoI has been simmering since September 2020 when the parliament of India passed three ‘contentious’ farm laws. Since then, thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh have been marching toward the New Delhi and are nearing the borders.
After failing to garner support from their respective state governments, the farmers have decided to mount pressure on the GoI, due to which they have set up their camps at Delhi borders
In UP and Haryana, BJP led governments have failed to address farmers issues, however, governments of Rajasthan and Punjab have extended full support to their agitation.
Farmers want GoI to either withdraw the three legislations or guarantee them the minimum support price (MSP) for their crops by introducing a new law.
Gurnam Singh Chaduni is leading the protestors from Haryana. Gurnam had contested the 2019 Assembly elections from Ladwa constituency in Kurukshetra district, but got only 1,307 votes. However, he was quite active in raising farmers’ issues and led several protests across the state.
Apart from Gurnam, several national and regional farm unions, comprising many leaders, have joined hands under the umbrella banner of Samyukt Kisan Morcha.
As farmers do not accept the three new legislations — The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation); The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance; and Farm Services and The Essential Commodities (Amendment), they believe the laws will open agricultural sale and marketing outside the notified Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) mandis for farmers, remove the barriers to inter-state trade, and provide a framework for electronic trading of agricultural produce.
Since the state governments will not be able to collect market fee, cess or levy for trade outside the APMC markets, farmers believe the laws will gradually end the mandi system and leave farmers at the mercy of corporates.
They are also of the opinion that dismantling the mandi system will bring an end to the assured procurement of their crops at MSP. Similarly, farmers believe the price assurance legislation may offer protection to farmers against price exploitation, but will not prescribe the mechanism for price fixation.
Farmers are demanding the government guarantee MSP in writing, or else the free hand given to private corporate houses will lead to their exploitation.