Dubbing Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a "merchant of falsehood" after he promised loan waivers to farmers with an eye on UP polls, a farmers' body today insisted he first do so in BJP-ruled Maharashtra. Maharashtra is among the states which have reported high number of farmers' suicides over the past two-and-a-half decades, which the AIKS, a body backed by CPI(M), attributed to inability of peasants or their kin to clear loans. Speaking to reporters here, All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) general secretary Hannan Mollah also picked holes in Centre's demonetisation move, claiming farmers are yet to recover from its "shocks". He said the organisation will hold protests beginning next month in parts of the country over issues involving peasantry like land acquisition and delay in implementation of an act in this connection, electricity tariff, and compensation to drought-hit farmers, among others. "Maharashtra, particularly its Vidarbha region, reported highest number of suicides because of loan-related issues. Its Chief Minister (Devendra Fadnavis) comes from Vidarbha only. "In such a situation, why is Modi announcing loan waiver for UP farmers and not for those in Maharashtra first? His new promise is a blatant lie eyeing polls... He is a merchant of falsehood," Mollah alleged. According to news reports, Maharashtra recorded 3,063 suicides in 2016. Vidarbha alone reported 1,451 such deaths. The ex-CPI(M) MP attacked the government for allegedly not making budgetary provisions to help farmers recover from the blows of demonetisation, which he said, had forced peasants to sell produce at throwaway prices. "The budget betrayed farmers. We are going to raise the issues during a protest planned two days later in the national capital," he said, without elaborating further. Mollah further accused "some states" of carrying out forcible acquisition of lands to "help corporate houses".
He cited reports of alleged killings of farmers in West Bengal and Jharkhand as examples in this connection. "The Centre had in the wake of opposition, withdrawn the land acquisition ordinance. But it allowed states to frame their own land acquisition acts. Now some states are acquiring land forcibly to help corporates," he said. To flag the issues, Mollah said the AIKS has decided to hold protests in parts of the country. The organisation will stage protests on March 13 and March 14 in Jharkhand against the alleged forcible land acquisition by the state government. The AIKS has also decided to gherao the Rajasthan assembly in Jaipur on March 2.
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