On January 26, Republic Day, 500 districts of India will see a tractor parade being held by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), a collective of farmers unions that spearheaded the historic struggle against three farm laws. An official statement made by the SKM on December 28 provided that pursuant to the conclusion of the formal Republic Parade in Delhi, a tractor parade will be held at a district level in all states and Union Territories across the length and breadth of the country.
The statement provided that “SKM shall hold tractor parade on January 26, 2024 at district level in all states and Union territories. It is expected that the parade shall be held in at least 500 districts. SKM appeals to farmers to join the parade in great numbers and after the conclusion of the formal parade at Delhi, the tractor parade will be held.”
The statement also provided that the parade will have the participants fly high the national flag of India and take a pledge to protect the principles of democracy, federalism, secularism and socialism. The statement provides “The farmers participating in the parade will fly-high the national flag along with the flags of the constituent organisations. Farmers will take pledge to protect the principles of democracy, federalism, secularism and socialism enshrined in the Constitution of India. Along with tractors, other vehicles and motorcycles will also join the parade.”
In addition to this, the SKM state units in 20 states have also launched a campaign named ‘Jan Jagran Yatra’ with the aim of making people aware about their ongoing campaign for minimum support price (MSP) as per Swaminathan commission recommendation. The constituent organisations of SKM have been demanding MSP equivalent to 1.5 times of comprehensive cost, including all inputs like fertilisers, herbicides, pesticides, diesel, rent and harvesting.
The SKM statement read that the campaign is “against the Modi government’s corporate raj-based development, dependent on GDP rate, and its narrative of India becoming $3 trillion- economy, which “hides the decline in the per capita income, growing income inequality and denial of minimum support price to farmers and minimum wage to workers.”
The statement provided that between January 10 to 20 of 2024, the campaigners will go door-to-door visits to distribute leaflets that will “expose the pro-corporate economic policies” of the Narendra Modi led union government. As per a report in Newsclick, the other issues to be highlighted are a one-time loan waiver and halt to privatisation of the electricity sector. These leaflets will highlight the policies being implemented by the union government that are detrimental to the interest of farmers, workers and people at large, causing large scale unemployment, uncontrolled price rise, poverty, indebtedness and unbridled rural to urban migration. As per the report, the issue of termination of Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Mishra, whose son is an accused in the mowing down of farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri, will also be raised in the same mass campaign.
“The farmer and worker activists will visit households and distribute leaflets and ensure massive participation of the people in the forthcoming joint and coordinated struggle actions against corporate exploitation under the patronage of RSS-BJP rule. State level coordination committees will meet immediately to prepare for the campaign to target to cover at least 40% of the 30.40 crores households”, the statement read.
As per the statement given by Senior SKM functionary P. Krishnaprasad to The Hindu, the aim behind this campaign is to reach out to at least 12 crore people during these ten days on the issues of livelihood to challenge the “communal narrative” of BJP.
The call raised by the SKM leaders to farmers all across India is to make this mass campaign and the tractor parade a grand success to ensure the removal of “the corporate-communal nexus that exploits and divides people through communal and casteist polarisation”.
The statement also asserted that the farmers’ struggle will intensify till all their demands are met by the union government.
As per the Newsclick report, Ashok Dhawale, president of All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), stated that the Morcha (protest) has put onus on both the Union government as well as the Opposition to clear their stand on MSP and other demands.
“We had to launch the campaign because the BJP government has not fulfilled its promise of forming committee with mandate to ensure legal status of MSP. The farmers unions are also asking the parties in the opposition to clear their stands as far as these demands are concerned,” he said, as per the report.
Jagmohan Singh, secretary, Bharatiya Kisan Union-Dakaunda, also informed Newsclick over that the detailed plan of the campaign and the national convention will be made public after the meeting of Punjab-based farmers unions on January 2.