Vol. XLI No. 09 February 26, 2017

Massive Victory of Kisan Movement in Rajasthan

THE Vasundhara Raje-led BJP state government of Rajasthan imposed severe burdens on the farmers of the state. They refused to supply adequate water for irrigation.  Lakhs of acres of land had no water for cultivation. The AIKS took up the issue and organised massive kisan rallies, meetings, road blocks in the effected districts.  Finally, the unwilling government relented and released adequate canal water to the districts of Ganganagar, Hanumangarh and Bikaner. 

Another major attack was the sudden hike in the electricity tariff for the peasantry in the Shekhawati belt and there was also a heavy hike in the electricity tariff for domestic consumption. The AIKS took up the issue immediately and organised several protest meetings against this huge increase in tariff rates. They campaigned for boycotting the payment of bills and there was massive response as there were more than one lakh deep tube-wells in this belt, which need regular uninterrupted electricity supply. The privatisation of electricity sector led to this massive increase in charges. The AIKS organised protest rallies in all those districts and about 40,000 peasants were mobilised in Sikar district, 25,000 in Jhunjhunu, 15,000 in Churu and 5,000 in Nagore. Local electricity offices in these districts were gheraoed.  Then it was decided to organise a big “Mahapadav” encircling the state assembly in Jaipur on March 2. Three jathas from Sikar, Nagore and Churu and huge number of farmers, about two lakh as planned, will come and gherao the assembly for indefinite time till demands are met.  They planned to come with their food and bedding as it was done six years ago against the hike in electricity charges.  The announcement of this struggle created panic in the government circles.  The main opposition party, Congress, did not take up the issue but their leaders and MLAs joined Kisan Sabha rallies.

As a result of the huge protests, the government withdrew the hike in the electricity charges. This victory created tremendous enthusiasm among farmers. But there still are other problems which the government is ignoring.  There is no remunerative price for the crops, no cheap inputs, no cheap loans for farmers, no waiver of huge loans of indebted farmers etc.  So the AIKS decided that though they achieved a big victory on electricity rates, the movement would continue for other demands.  So they changed the assembly gherao programme but ‘Jaipur Kooch’ on March 2 will be held.  There will be a massive rally in Jaipur to celebrate the huge victory on electricity tariff issue. This victory-cum-sangharsh rally will be addressed by AIKS president Amraram and general secretary Hannan Mollah and the new plan of action for larger struggle on other issues will be announced from the rally. AIKS will build up massive united struggles and also intensive campaign will be launched against communalisation of the state by RSS and other communal outfits.