The rally began from Mandi House and went on to Parliament Street, where the likes of Sitaram Yechury, Yogendra Yadav and Medha Patkar addressed it.
New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi’s hug to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Lok Sabha may have grabbed all the attention Friday, but there was another anti-government motion taking place outside Parliament House that didn’t get noticed as much – a farmers’ no-confidence rally.
The protest was organised by the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) – a body comprising over 180 farmer groups. The rally began from Mandi House, and went on to Parliament Street, where several political leaders addressed the gathering, including CPI(M)’s Sitaram Yechury, Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant, Swaraj India’s Yogendra Yadav and social activist Medha Patkar.
Swaraj India’s Delhi chief Nishant Tyagi said “the rally was supposed to consist of 2,000-3,000 protesters.” However, only 400-500 people finally turned up.
Protesters gathered with black flags and sporting black bands, carrying posters and banners in Punjabi, English and Hindi.
The rally was organised to raise two demands: A rise in minimum support prices, and the passing of two pro-farmer bills drafted by the AIKSCC – the Farmers’ Freedom From Indebtedness Bill and the Farmers’ Right to Guaranteed Remunerative Minimum Support Price For Agricultural Commodities Bill.
Besides these, the farmers also demanded a loan waiver and for the price of milk to be fixed at Rs 27 per litre.
The government’s much-touted recent MSP hike was slammed by the protesters as a ‘jumla’, with Yechury terming it ‘deceit’. He claimed that the BJP government is benefitting foreign corporates while India’s farmers are killing themselves. Yechury said his party will introduce the two bills in Parliament, and appealed to other parties to support it.
The AIKSCC had earlier alleged that the government’s recent MSP announcement was misleading, as it didn’t adhere to the M.S. Swaminathan committee’s formula. The core demand remains the inclusion of C2, which the panel had recommended.
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