Thousands of Indian farmers protest lack of government support in Mumbai city

Farmers march to Mumbabi to lay siege to Maharashtra Vidhan Sabha

The farmers, led by Left-affiliated All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), are demanding a complete loan waiver, remunerative prices for agricultural produce and implementation of Swaminathan Commission recommendations among others.

Mumbai: The Mumbai traffic police has issued an advisory on restrictions and diversions to take place on certain roads between 9 am to 10 pm, in view of the "Long March" by Maharashtra farmers that has reached Mumbai after a grueling five-day 180-km long journey from Nashik.

Over 50,000 farmers and tribals associated with All Indian Kisan Sabha (AIKS) of the CPI (M) are likely to reach Mumbai on Monday for participating in a rally against the Fadnavis Government.

Thousands of farmers holding red flags who arrived in Mumbai yesterday reached the Azad Maidan before the crack of dawn. "I am confident that the farmers can expect a positive outcome at tomorrow's meeting".

According to Ajit Nawale, state general secretary of Akhil Bhartiya Kisan Sabha, 1,753 farmers have committed suicide in the state since local government announced a loan waiver package. However, Ajit Navale, leader of the Communist Party and convenor of the Kisan Sabha, which is spearheading the protest, refused to be drawn into any discussions at this stage and chose to go ahead with the March. The meeting with Fadnavis is reportedly scheduled at 11:30 am. Medical education minister Girish Mahajan said, "We had first requested the farmers to end their march at Chunabhatti grounds and a delegation could come and meet the CM in Vidhan Bhavan". Shiv Sena's Aditya Thackeray had also met the farmers and interacted with them. "It is the farmers who voted for you in large numbers, not the industrialists", the agitating farmers had recently told BJP President Amit Shah.

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"We have set up a committee of ministers to hold discussions on their demands".

"There is a severe crisis of water for farming". The Shiv Sena, a partner in the state government but a bitter critic of the BJP, is openly supporting the morcha.

The ABKS was part of the steering committee of farmers' outfits that started unprecedented strikes a year ago. "We will not break our gherao in Mumbai unless our demands are fulfilled". We have extended our whole-hearted support to their agitation.

Currently, the budget session of Maharashtra state legislature is underway.

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