Mumbai: Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday said farmers have been facing problems not only in Maharashtra but all over India.
Talking to media on farmers protest, he said, "This is not an issue of Maharashtra farmers alone but of farmers all over India." Rahul also urged the BJP government to accept their demands.
Later he also tweeted:
The mammoth #FarmersMarchToMumbai is a stunning example of people’s power. The Congress party stands with the Farmers & Tribals marching to protest against the Central & State Govts. apathy.
I appeal to PM Modi and the CM to not stand on ego and to accept their just demands.
— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) March 12, 2018
More than an estimated 35,000 peasants - men, women, youth and even seniors - undertook a 180-km long march over six days in Maharashtra and reached Mumbai on Sunday.
Organised by the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), the farmer's wing of Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), the farmers sporting red caps, red flags, beating drums and cymbals and the tribal blowing instrument -'tarpa', marched in disciplined unity.
They abandoned their night's rest, to march from the Somaiya Grounds, Vidyavihar starting 2 am (Monday) to reach the historic Azad Maidan at dawn, to avoid inconveniencing students appearing for the ongoing board examinations.
Farmers leader Ajit Nawale said that among the major demands is the implementation of the farm loans waiver announced in June 2017, (after farmers in the state went on a 'strike'), then make the farmers completely debt-free, besides other demands.
"Considering the tremendous response we have evoked from across the state the government cannot dismiss us lightly. If it continues to dilly-dally on the farm loans waiver or try to take us for a ride, it will face the consequences," Nawale had told reporters late on Sunday.
AIKS Maharashtra President Ashok Dhavale had pointed out that the crisis in the farmlands is very severe with "over 400,000 farmers committing suicides in the past 25 years".
"Agrarian distress is linked to malnutrition... The farming community is feeling betrayed by the BJP-led governments in Maharashtra and at the Centre," Dhavale said.
(With IANS inputs)