The growing anger and discontent of the masses of peasants in all parts of the country manifest in numerous struggles over the past few months, burst out in a massive united show of strength on the streets of New Delhi on November 20 and 21, 2017.
The Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Sansad, held at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on November 20-21, was jointly organized by nearly 184 peasant organisations from various parts of the country. These included organisations led by communist parties as well as others. There were peasant organisations from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, UP, Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. There were representatives of farmers, agricultural workers, fisherfolk, plantation workers, etc. Proudly holding aloft the banners of their respective organisations and banners proclaiming their demands, the participants dressed in colourful attire traditional to their respective regions, marched in an organized manner, in two contingents – one from Ram Lila Maidan and the other from Ambedkar Bhavan. They raised slogans in support of their demands as they marched, in the languages of their respective regions. The march culminated in a massive rally at Jantar Mantar, in front of the Parliament in New Delhi.
At Jantar Mantar there was a veritable sea of red flags and banners, as nearly 50,000 representatives of peasants gathered for the kisan sansad. Leaders of the various peasant organisations addressed the participants from the main stage. Large LCD screens and loudspeakers had been put up to enable the participants to see and hear their leaders.
The speakers unanimously condemned the crisis in agriculture and the growing impoverishment of the peasantry, which is driving more and more peasants into devastation. The lack of assured state procurement of their produce at remunerative prices, the rising cost of inputs, the terrible debt burden forcing thousands of peasants to suicide – these were passionately raised by the peasant leaders. The main demands highlighted by the leaders were formulated in the form of a bill which the Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Sansad proposes to place before Parliament in the next session. These included unconditional loan waiver, assured minimum support price for procurement, increased scope of state procurement to include daals, coarse cereals and other food grains and produce, state control and regulation over market fluctuations of prices and relief to the producers, state export and import policies to be determined in the interests of the peasant producers and making minimum support price a justiciable right.
One of the highlights of the Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Sansad was the Mahila Sansad, consisting of women representatives from the families of peasants who had been driven to suicide in recent years, in different parts of the country. The passionate and heart-rending statements of these women, of whom more than 500 were present at the sansad, brought alive before all the harsh circumstances our peasants have to battle. The mahila sansad passed a resolution for debt waiver, MSP and guaranteed procurement and compensation for the deaths of farmers.
The proceedings carried on till late evening and continued into the next day, when more peasant leaders addressed the gathering. They called on the peasants to step up the struggle in defence of their livelihood and rights. Representatives of several peasant organisations sang militant songs describing their struggle and inspiring the peasants to draw inspiration from our martyrs who had fought so valiantly for the liberation of Indian society from all exploitation and oppression.
Members and activists of the CGPI vigorously participated in the 2-day Kisan Sansad. Banners of CGPI, highlighting the demands of the peasants for loan waiver and guaranteed state procurement at remunerative prices, were prominently displayed at various places. The central committee of the CGPI issued a call to the peasants with the slogans -- ‘Demands for loan waiver and public procurement are entirely just! It is the State’s duty to ensure prosperity and protection for peasants! We are not asking for charity! Secure livelihood is our basic right!’ Tens of thousands of copies of the call in Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil and Marathi, were distributed among the participants. The participants eagerly bought copies of the organ of CGPI, Mazdoor Ekta Lehar and enthusiastically participated in political discussion on the burning problems facing our society today. A major attraction at the rally was the display by the CGPI, of Marxist-Leninist literature and publications of the party in various languages. Hundreds of participants stopped by to browse through the books on display and buy what attracted them. The book stall of the CGPI also became a major hub for political discussion on the problems confronting the communist and workers movement in our country at the present time.
MEL hails the successful convening of the Kisan Sansad as a major step in the growing unity of the peasants as well as their unity with the working class and all oppressed of our country, in the struggle against exploitation and plunder at the hands of the big capitalist monopolies and their state.