CPI leader Kanhaiya Kumar on Wednesday asserted that the ongoing farmers stir against farm bills was an uprising to save democracy from crony capitalism and deplored attempts to discredit the agitations. Kumar, a former JNU students union president, appealed to people from all walks of life to lend their support to the movement launched by the farmers.
He coined a slogan Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan, Jai Samvidhan to underscore that the stir had far-reaching implications. "Some people are whispering conspiratorially why is it that only better off farmers of Punjab are protesting. This is as abominable as witchcraft being practiced in villages where widows are often vilified by those eyeing their property" said Kumar, who hit the streets here as part of a joint demonstration by Left parties in Bihar to express solidarity with the agitating farmers in the national capital.
"I am not a farmer but come from a family of agriculturists. I can understand why agriculture has become an economic activity in which the people involved never want their children to follow in their footsteps, unlike doctors and bureaucrats," he said. Kumar expressed anguish that unlike manufacturers who could determine the maximum retail price of their produce, farmers could not do the same for the minimum support price.
He also challenged the Narendra Modi government at the Centre, which has been insisting that the recently passed agriculture laws were not aimed at doing away with MSPs, to make procurement at rates below MSPs a punishable offence. "This government keeps saying that those opposed to the farm bills are in cahoots with middlemen. The fact is, these legislations have been brought with the sole aim of benefiting those big businessmen on whose donations the ruling party runs its expensive election campaigns," Kumar alleged.
"We must be wary of making all our sectors vulnerable to the onslaught of big businesses. Telecom companies have begun to run amok with the state-owned BSNL in shambles. The countrys salaried middle class should also realize that the current trajectory may lead to a situation wherein buying food will burn a hole in their pockets," Kumar asserted. He also lamented the reported use of force to quell the farmers' protests at many places. "Often our jawans belong to families which earn their livelihood by tilling the soil. This regime is, in effect, turning sons against their fathers."
The Left leaders, who also included CPI(ML) secretary general Dipankar Bhattacharya among others, staged a demonstration in front of the Buddha Smriti Park a stones throw from the railway station and burnt an effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.