Bhopal: Terming the 10-day gaon-bandh protest by farmers in Madhya Pradesh a success, National president of Rashtriya Kisan Mazdur Mahasangh (RKMM) Shiv Kumar Sharma, popularly known as ‘Kakkaji’, has claimed that his organisation would start three-month long Annadata Adhikar Andolan in August.
"The statewide yatra aims at covering 323 blocks in all the 51 districts of Madhya Pradesh," Kakkaji told News18.
The yatra would comprise 50 tractors tagged with two trolleys each, carrying huge flexes disseminating information on farmers’ plight during in the 15 years of BJP rule. Around 300 people would accompany the yatra interspersed with occasional appearances by farmers’ leaders of national repute.
Besides focusing on farmers’ issues, the protest would also raise questions on socio-economic issues such as education, de-addiction, illegal mining, corruption, mismanagement at mandis and so on, said the 67-year-old, who was widely seen as the man behind peasants’ unrest in MP in 2017.
“We won’t seek votes for any party but we would definitely make the rural masses aware about the importance of choosing candidates with a clean image and discarding criminals present in the electoral fray,” he said.
On being asked whether the BJP could term the yatra an attempt to tamper its voter base at the behest of opposition, the socialist leader claimed he was not bothered about such allegations and would keep working for the welfare of farmers.
The journey will commence on August 8, which is also the day Mahatma Gandhi started the Quit India Movement in 1942.
Youth wing president of RKMM, Rahul Raj, told News18 that the yatra would commence from Amarkantak and would end in Bhopal. "We would be accompanied by our own langar to feed our participants and we would also seek contributions from the farmers in the form of food," he added.
On being asked whether the 10-day gaon bandh protest of farmers was a flop in MP, Kakkaji contested that one needs an alternative perspective to assess its success. "Denying milk and vegetables to the public was not our primary aim, we only wanted to make state government serious about our demands which we managed to do," he said.
For a month or so, the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government in MP remained unnerved forcing farmers to ink peace bonds and making elaborate arrangements for law and order. The police ensured sale of milk and vegetables under armed protection.
"Earlier kisan was a non-issue for both media and politicians; and we managed to change this perspective with our persistent efforts and have brought peasants into mainstream political agenda, which is our actual success," said the former Bharatiya Kisan Sangh state president.