Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda called upon all farmers’ groups and pro-farmer individuals on Friday to come together and mount pressure on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government to agree to the demands of the farming community.
Addressing a gathering at the Kisan Panchayat in Kurukshetra, Mr. Hooda said that the anti-farmer face of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government had been exposed when it accepted before the Supreme Court in an affidavit that the Swaminathan Commission report could not be implemented.
Launching a scathing attack on the BJP government, Mr. Hooda said that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had waived ₹72,000 crore farmers loan in a single stroke, but Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had washed his hands off the matter saying that the burden of waiving such loans was on the States.
The former Chief Minister said that being born into a farmer’s family himself, he was committed to taking their fight to the end. He added that Haryana’s farmers had seen an era of prosperity during the Congress rule, but the present government had “wrested” away power by making false promises.
Sounding a word of caution for the BJP government, Mr. Hooda said that “the farmer was silent, not dead”.
Several farmers’ leaders also addressed the gathering, appealing to the former Chief Minister to lead the farmers agitation in the State. Several Congress MLAs were also present in the meeting.
The farmers, meanwhile, raised their hands to adopt a charter of 14 demands, including waiving Haryana farmers’ loans based on the lines of Uttar Pradesh and Maharasthra, immediate implementation of the Swaminathan Commission report and guaranteed 50% profit over and above their input cost, fixed Minimum Support Price (MSP) for sugarcane to commensurate with the price of sugar, MSP for vegetables and poplar, reduction in diesel and urea prices to pass on the benefit of fall in prices of crude oil, construction of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal, and to run all thermal power plants in Haryana to their capacity.
The Kisan Panchayat was held as part of the Congress’ State-wide agitation from June 16 to July 7 in support of the farmers.
The next dharna will be held at Sirsa on June 21, followed by Rewari (June 25), Sonipat (July 1), Jind (July 5) and Nuh (July 7).