The BJP-led Maharashtra government which had come under severe pressure from the farmers finally gave in and according to various media reports have accepted the demands of agitating farmers, including their right to till forest land. Following the assurance the farmers have called off their protest.
Talking to reporters outside Vidhan Bhawan, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said: “We have agreed to set up a committee to hand over forest land used for farming, to tribals and farmers”.
“A meeting was held with representatives of farmers and adivasis at Vidhan Bhawan today. We have agreed to set up a committee to allot agricultural land to tribals provided they submit a proof of pre-2005 land cultivation. We have accepted almost all their demands,” Fadnavis said.
The agitators, presently camped at Azad Maidan, have toiled their way walking from Maharashtra’s Nashik district. The agitating farmers, joined by tribals, had halted at the KJ Somaiya Ground before making their way to Azad Maidan.
Former union agriculture minister and Maratha stalwart and NCP supremo Sharad Pawar and social crusader Anna Hazare had strongly criticized the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the Centre and in Maharashtra for letting down the farmers.
Speaking to the media in Mumbai and Ralegan-Siddhi (Ahmednagar), the two senior leaders asked why over 30,000 farmers were compelled to march nearly 200 km from Nashik to Mumbai for six days if the government was serious about accepting their demands.
“Why could the state government not depute a team to Nashik to discuss the grievances of the farmers and resolve it? Its four years since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power, but the promises of minimum support price for farm produce has not been implemented,” Pawar said.
It may be recalled that the movement is spearheaded by the Communist Party of India (Marxist)’s All India Kisan Sabha. Apart from opposition parties, Shiv Sena, a partner in the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led coalition, too, has vocally supported the agitation.