SFI Fraternal Organisation, the Maharashtra Kisan Sabha played a leading role!
June 11th saw the historic victory of the peasantry of Maharashtra, after a 10 day novel and unprecedented strike, backed by a massive Maharashtra Bandh on 5th June. Under pressure of the unity and struggle of the peasantry and the impending call for a militant statewide Rail Roko and Rasta Roko struggle on 13th June, the BJP-Shiv Sena state government represented by the high-powered committee of five cabinet ministers held talks with the Coordination Committee of Peasant Organisations in Mumbai.
After strenuous negotiations for over three hours, the government agreed to the following demands:
1. Complete loan waiver to the peasantry, subject to certain criteria to exclude the rich sections. These criteria will be decided within one month by a 10 member committee comprising 5 representatives of the Kisan organisations and 5 of the state government.
2. Implementation of loan waiver to all peasants holding less than 5 acres of land with immediate effect and new loans to be given to them immediately for the coming sowing season.
3. Substantial increase in the price of milk to be paid to the peasantry as per the formula that 70 per cent of the selling price of milk will go to the peasant and 30 per cent to the processing institute for its expenses
4. CM will take a delegation of peasant organisations to the PM to insist on the Swaminathan Commission recommendation of fixing MSP to cover cost of production plus 50 per cent profit,
5. State government will give written reply to other points in the memorandum
6. Police cases in this struggle will be immediately withdrawn.
The peasant organisations were represented in the talks by Convenor of the Committee Dr Ajit Nawale, General Secretary, Maharashtra Kisan Sabha (AIKS), Raju Shetty, MP, Bachhu Kadu, MLA, Jayant Patil, MLC, Raghunathdada Patil, Dr Ashok Dhawale, Joint Secretary, AIKS, Namdev Gavade and others. The state government was represented by cabinet ministers Chandrakant Patil, Divakar Ravte, Pandurang Fundkar, Girish Mahajan and Subhash Deshmukh.
If the criteria of the loan waiver are not satisfactorily decided before the state assembly session begins on July 24, it was declared that the Committee will re-launch the struggle from July 26, the birth anniversary of renowned social reformer Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj. This historic victory has been hailed far and wide by the peasantry of Maharashtra.
The AIKS was widely acknowledged as the focal point of this remarkable struggle and it took the lead in uniting all other peasant organisations in the state to successfully overcome the vile attempt by the government and some self-styled farmer leaders to break the peasant strike on 3rd June.