Nagpur/Mumbai: On Day 2 of Farmers’ strike in Maharashtra, Social Activist Anna Hazare suddenly decided to enter the fray offering to mediate “on behalf of farmers”.
Most leaders spearheading the agitation though are skeptical about Anna’s offer. They in fact see him as a tool in the CM’s hands trying to disrupt the unity among farmers.
“Where was Anna when farmers of the state were suffering from drought like conditions for 2-3 years? Where was he when farmers were committing suicide? He should keep out of our agitation now! We do not want any intermediaries; the Chief Minister should talk to us directly.” This is the response of most farmers leading the strike in Pune, Nasik, Aurangabad etc.
No Minister in Mumbai
It is surprising that no concerned Minister is in Mumbai right now who could be accessible to farmers.
Pandurang Fundkar, Cabinet Minister for Agriculture and Horticulture, Pandurang Fundkar, Minister of Co operation, Mahadev Jankar, Minister for Animal husbandry and Dairy Development are all away from Mumbai.
Anna has disclosed that he has already spoken twice with the CM on phone and he is confident that Fadnavis will consider farmers’ issues sympathetically.
But the reality on the ground is that the state Govt. is trying to quell the strike with a heavy hand by arresting many farmers from Nasik, Solapur, Pune etc. Those arrested are those who were identified as preventing milk tankers and fruit trucks from going to Mumbai and Pune.
Farmers are getting encouragement and support from students’ leaders, labour leaders etc.
Even Shiv Sena leaders, who are part of Coalition govt., are advising patience and restraint while dealing with farmers.
BJP Ministers, are directly blaming Udhav Thakarey for inciting farmers.
The ‘Maratha Morcha’ which was supported by Sharad Pawar is also being held responsible.