Khedut Vedna Yatra (A footmarch to highlight farmers’ distress in Gujarat) culminated on Monday, January 2; If promises breached, farmers prepared to unseat the government
It is an interesting time politically in poll-driven Gujarat, the state that the RSS-driven Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has controlled, virtually un-contested from 1998. It is also been come to be regarded as prime minister Narendra Modi’s personal bastion, even as BJP stalwarts LK Advani and Keshubhai Patel also contributed significantly to the saffron turnaround of the state.
Monday, January 2, was the final day of the Khedut Vedna Yatra (A footmarch to highlight farmers’ distress in Gujarat), when determined Gujarati farmers marched 450 kilometres on foot led by Sagar Rabari and Pinakin Dhamelia of Khedut Samaj-Gujarat. Eighteen hundred 2000 farmers from Gir, Junagadh, Rajkot, Bhavnagar, Botad, Surendranagar, Ahmedabad, Banakantha, Aravali Bardoli and Surat districts joined them at Vaishnodevi circle to march towards Gandhinagar. This is not an insignificant number.
The farmers marched in a disciplined manner in a file of 2. They were stopped by the police near village Tarapur. They were told that the CM would not be available but an officer would come to them to receive the memoranda and a meeting with the CM would be fixed in the coming 4-5 days.
Ironically for the farmers, the VGGS – the land and water-guzzling monster and their nemesis – is the reason why no one, beginning with the CM and the senior ministers or the senior officers, has any time to spare to listen to the farmers or their vedna. A copy of the memorandum may be read here.
The farmers have demanded that Gujarat CM –Vijay Rupani, a replacement for the Modi-favourite Anandibeh Patel unseated after the Una agitation in August last year –meet them within the next three to four days.
Protesting peacefully, the farmers still retain the vain hope that the state government will not only meet them but will also meet their long-standing demands. If the government however fails to keep its promise, they are faced with a dilemma, Where does the agitation go from here?
The farmers have employed all possible democratic means – rallies, demonstrations, fasts, foot marches – to raise their issues.
Boycott Ruling Party Reps in coming polls if Farmer Demands Not met
If the government breaks its promise once again, what then? In that case, the farmers have decided to employ the ultimate weapon in a democracy – their franchise. Farmer representatives and leaders will tour villages and districts to relate the tale of government neglect and breach of promise. They will then proclaim to the people: “Vote for anyone except the present regime which has worked to destroy farmers and agriculture” and
“Do not allow the representatives of the present regime to enter the villages for canvassing”. The farmers will be left with no option but to remove, by root and limb, the drunk-on-power present regime.
The protest gathering has dispersed with a solemn vow to combat this anti-farmer regime and to put their might behind this task.