Farmers’ groups, including the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), the All India Agriculture Workers Union (AIAWU) and the Centre of Indian Trade Union (CITU) organisations and unions affiliated to the Communist Party of India (Marxist), have organised a rally on Wednesday at Parliament Street in Delhi under the name 'Majdoor Kisan Sangharsh Rally'.
In addition to the Left organisations, many trade unions, employee unions and teacher federations have extended their support to the rally. Anganwadi and ASHA workers are also expected to join the march.
More than 3 lakh people are expected to participate in the mega rally, Hannan Mollah, general secretary of the AIKS, told news agency ANI.
He said the government policies were hurting the interest of farmers, farm workers and labourers who were the producers but hardly get any benefit or fair returns.
The protesters have put before the government 15 demands.
They include curbing price rise, universalising Public Distribution System, employment creation, minimum wage of not less than Rs 18,000 per month and banning labour law amendments.
Other demands include debt waiver, redistributive land reforms, a ban of forcible land acquisition, reversing neo-liberal policies, and a ban on 'contract' employment.
Participants who have come from all over the country appeared confident that the rally would be successful in highlighting their issues of concern.
Raghunath Chaudhary, a farmer from Maharashtra's Nashik, who was a part of 'Long March' to Mumbai in March this year, said he felt betrayed as the Maharashtra government had not fulfilled its promises despite a written assurance.
Punik Narayan Rau, another farmer who was part of the "Long March", said the “BJP government in Maharashtra fooled us” and he has come to Delhi to protest against the “anti-farmer policies of the Centre”
“I will not stop till I get the right price for my crops," he said.
"This is the first time...after Independence that farmers and workers will jointly participate in a rally against the government," CITU general secretary Tapan Sen said.
Sen said the protests will be intensified if the demands are not considered by the government.
In August, the AIKS had organised ‘Jail Bharo’ movement in 400 districts and had received support from a Dalit organisation and ex-servicemen’s associations.
(With agency inputs)
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