THOUSANDS of farmers participated in Jaipur Kooch (march to Jaipur) on March 2, at the call of the Rajasthan state committee of the All India Kisan Sabha, which is a continuation of sustained ongoing struggle for the last six months against hike in electricity rates and other demands in the state. Groups of the farmers began to arrive at Vidyadhar Nagar Stadium in Jaipur from early morning, which continued till afternoon. From the Stadium, Kisan Sabha announced that if the state government will not resolve all the demands of farmers through negotiation, then peasants will march to state assembly after 3 pm, but under the pressure of large mobilisation and great enthusiasm of farmers, the government extended proposal for negotiation in the afternoon only. Negotiation took place between the delegation of the All India Kisan Sabha (under the leadership of Pema Ram) and the state power minister Pushpendra Singh in the presence of all the top officials of electricity department in the Vidhyut Bhawan. After the talks, the state power minister promised to fulfil all the demands of farmers coming under his jurisdiction and promised to raise other demands firmly in front of the state and central government in favour of the farmers.
After this successful negotiation, leadership of the farmers conveyed this information to farmers and took their consent. Encouraged by the victory of their struggle, farmers departed to their destinations raising slogans for the unity of peasantry. The delegation which negotiated with the government comprised Pema Ram, Chagan Lal Chaudhary, Sagar Khachariya, Mangal Yadav, Girdhari Mahia, Bhagirath Leith, Ramjilal Yadav, Vidyadhar Gill, Jetharam and Motilal Sharma.
Prior to this negotiation a public meeting was organised under the presidium of Pema Ram, Gurucharan Mode, Narayan Ram Dudi, Mangal Yadav, Prabhulal and Girdari Mahia. Hannan Mollah, general secretary of the All India Kisan Sabha extended his revolutionary greetings to the farmers of Rajasthan for their successful struggle. In his address, Mollah said that increase in electricity tariff and all the other issues which make life of farmers more pathetic and hard are due to the anti-peasant policies of the ruling parties in the state and the centre. The neoliberal economic policies adopted by the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress governments are responsible for these issues of farmers. These policies in the field of electricity and agriculture have forced the farmers to take to the path of struggle. He described the Modi government as the most anti-farmer, anti-worker government in the history of the country which is refusing to fulfill its promises. The government has not fulfilled any promises made before the elections, instead it has constantly taken decisions to ruin the farmers, whether it is the land acquisition ordinance, or the reduction of import duty on agricultural commodities or the beneficial price for farmers' crops and the implementation of the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission. The attitude of the BJP government at the centre has been against the interests of the farmers, and continuously farmers have had to fight to protect their rights.
Addressing the gathering, president of the All India Kisan Sabha, Amra Ram said that farmers of Rajasthan have defeated the government by organising themselves to protect their interests on the basis of unity and struggle. Whenever farmers have stood together firmly by organising themselves, they have forced governments to resolve the issues of the farmers, like the agitation of Gharsana or the indefinite large sit-in (mahapadav) on the question of electricity rates or any other struggle. This time also, this is the power of unity, struggle and agitation of the farmers which forced the Vasundara Raje government to withdraw the hike in electricity tariff. He called upon the farmers to build and strengthen the organisation of the All India Kisan Sabha in each and every village of Rajasthan. Farmers have only organisation as their strength to fight any struggle.
AIKS joint secretary, Ashok Dhawle, Haryana state secretary of Kisan Sabha, Harpal Singh, Pawan Dugal, president of CITU, Ravindra Shukla, Sumitra Chopra of AIDWA, Pulchandra Deva of CPI(ML) and Vasudev Sharma Central Committee member of the CPI(M) also addressed the public meeting.
The meeting was also addressed by leaders like Vidyadhar Singh Gill, Pema Ram, Chaggan Chaudhary, Balwan Punia, Bhagirath Netad, Duli Chand, Sagar Khacharia, Sanjay Madhav, Bhagwan Sahay Bhadala, Ramchandra Kulhari and Mukhram Ghadra. The meeting was presided over by Chagan Lal Chaudhary and Sanjay Madhav.