Two prominent farmers’ organisations in Maharashtra have locked horns over agri reform laws. The Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, led by former MP Raju Shetti, has opposed the laws and supported Punjab farmers’ agitation while Shetkari Sanghatana, founded by late Sharad Joshi, has supported the laws.
The agri reform laws stand politicised with farmers’ organisations taking a stand as per their political positions.
Speaking to BusinessLine, Raju Shetti said that the Centre is privatising agriculture to benefit specific business houses which are venturing into agriculture trade and processing. “The intention of the government while introducing agri reform laws is not to benefit farmers. Indian farmers are already facing various issues and the new laws will deteriorate the situation,” he said. Shetti said that Maharashtra farmers stand with Punjab and Haryana farmers and will support the demand to repeal the laws.
Shetti and his organisation are part of the new ruling alliance in Maharashtra where the Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress have joined hands to keep the BJP out of power.
Shetkari Sanghatana’s President, Anil Ghanwat, said that the organisation fully supports the laws and the government must conduct talks to pacify concerns raised by farmers. “The government must not withdraw laws as these are long-awaited reforms in agriculture which will give a competitive edge to farmers,” he said, adding that new laws will give freedom of trade to farmers and also bring in investment for infrastructure.
Social activist Anna Hazare has warned that if the Centre fails to pacify agitating farmers on Delhi borders, he will launch an agitation at Delhi. He said that the government must address farmers’ concerns.