Farmers launch ‘Gaon Bandh’, a 10-day strike in five states


The Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh (RKM) is coordinating a protest which has been termed as “Gaon Bandh” (village shutdown) across five states. Bhopal, Mumbai and New Delhi Farmer organisations launched it across five states including, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

The 10-day strike which started from Friday, highlights the ongoing agrarian crisis, and farmers through this strike have raised demands such as, loan waivers, land reforms and free power supply for pumps. However, the strike did not make a significant impact on day one, but it is likely to affect the farm produce markets as participating farmer organisations are likely to coordinate their actions. President of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, Balbir Singh Rajewal said, “Farmers would stop supplying vegetables and milk to the cities. The impact will be visible in the next few days”.

Also read: Five farmers commit suicide in Rajasthan as garlic prices fall

The farmers are demanding a total loan waiver of all outstanding loans, implementation of the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations for the agriculture sector, free power supply for pumps, and higher prices for fuel ethanol purchases. We want the government to accept all our demands. Until then, we will continue to block supply of fruits, vegetables and milk,” said Sandeep Gidde Patil, a member of the RKM.

An ongoing agrarian crisis has caused deep resentment among the farming community that, if not addressed, is bound to hurt the Bharatiya Janata Party in upcoming state elections as well as the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. This discontent among the farmers is a key challenge for the BJP. Also, out of the five states participating in this protest, four are BJP-ruled states.

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