January 24, 2021

Nationwide Farmers Struggle Set to Intensify on Republic Day

Ashok Dhawale

THE unprecedented nationwide farmers struggle led by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha(SKM) is set to greatly intensify as it completes two months on Republic Day, January 26, 2021. The ‘kisan parade’ in the form of a huge tractor march on the Outer Ring Road to Delhi will undoubtedly be the most massive form of farmers’ resistance since independence. It will have tens of thousands of tractors and over a million farmers. Hectic preparations are on by all kisan organisations in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan to make it a historic show of strength against the pro-corporate Farm Laws and the BJP-RSS government that has thrust them upon the country by murdering parliamentary democracy.


Several states are also set for massive actions in the form of mahapadavs or sit-ins by tens of thousands of peasants and workers in the state capitals in the coming week. The SKM had given a call for huge actions at the state capitals from January 23, the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, to January 26, Republic Day. These included a call for marches to the raj bhavans which are the official residences of the governors, who represent the central government, and for kisan mazdoor parades. Most of these joint actions will be led by the AIKSCC, which comprises the AIKS along with several other kisan organisations, and by the central trade unions which comprise the CITU along with other unions.

West Bengal will hold its three-day mahapadav from January 20-22. Maharashtra will hold its four-day action from January 23-26. Similarly, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha and other states will also organise huge sit-ins during this period. Lakhs of peasants and workers, as well as women, youth, students and sections of the middle class, will participate in all these countrywide struggles that will squarely target the central government.  Along with the repeal of the three Farm Laws and the four Labour Codes and the withdrawal of the Electricity(Amendment) Bill, these struggles will also echo another cardinal demand of the Delhi struggle for a law mandating MSP at the C2 + 50 per cent rate and also guarantee of procurement.


On January 13/14, coinciding with Lohri and Sankranti, bonfires were lit of copies of the hated black Farm Acts in literally thousands of places all over India. Lakhs of farmers took part. This action succeeded in taking the struggle down to the village level. In Kerala, in a unique form of struggle, over one million peasants formed human chains in thousands of villages in the state. Torchlight processions, tractor marches were also held in innumerable places in the country.

On January 18, Mahila Kisan Diwas was widely observed at all the five Delhi borders of the farmers' struggle, and also across the length and breadth of the country. This call of the SKM acknowledged the lion’s share of women in agricultural operations. AIDWA, along with several other women’s organisations and groups, mobilised tens of thousands of women all over.


Last week, over 500 peasants led by the AIKS from the southernmost state of Kerala, travelled for nearly 3,000 km in buses and reached the Shahajahapur border near Delhi. They were led by AIKS state president, K K Ragesh, MP, state secretary K N Balagopal and by team leaders Shaukat and Manoj. They were given a rousing welcome by thousands of farmers there. Among those who received them were AIKS vice president, Amra Ram, joint secretary, Vijoo Krishnan, finance secretary, P Krishna Prasad, AIAWU general secretary, B Venkat, joint secretary, Vikram Singh and SFI central secretariat member, Nitheesh Narayan.

Hundreds of peasants led by the AIKS from West Bengal, Odisha, Telangana and some other states have also reached and are camping at the Delhi borders. The AIKS contingents from Maharashtra and Gujarat were the first to arrive near Delhi in the last week of December.


The BJP-led central government still remains adamant, and also vindictive. Nine rounds of talks with the SKM have led to no results so far, and the tenth round is scheduled for January 20. Scores of notices were sent last week to several participants in the farmers struggle from the National Investigation Agency (NIA), trying to link them with Khalistani groups. This has enraged the farmers' organisations even more and they are determined to fight back.

The four-member biased committee appointed by the Supreme Court has come a cropper with the withdrawal by one of its members, Bhupinder Singh Mann. The central government is making attempts to use the Supreme Court to try and ban the kisan parade on January 26.

But come what may, lakhs and lakhs of farmers and workers around Delhi, and all across the country, will hit the streets in the coming week to teach a lesson to this most pro-corporate, anti-democratic and fascistic government that India has ever seen since its independence.