The coordination committee of farmers’ organisations had decided to organise large joint peasant conventions for mass awakening (jan jaagran) in major districts all over Maharashtra from July 10 to 23.
A total of 15 massive joint conventions of farmers took place in all the five regions of Maharashtra - Northern Maharashtra, Konkan, Vidarbha, Marathwada and Western Maharashtra - from July 10 to 23. Over 40,000 farmers took enthusiastic part in all these conventions despite the sowing season in the monsoons. This showed the anger in the peasantry against the betrayal of the BJP state government on the loan waiver issue.
These conventions took place in the districts of Nashik (Nashik and Kalwan), Thane-Palghar (Vikramgad), Ahmednagar (Sangamner), Dhule-Nandurbar (Saakri), Amravati (Chandur Baajaar), Buldana (Khamgaon), eastern Vidarbha (Wardha), Nanded (Kinwat), Parbhani, Beed (Dharur), Solapur, Sangli, Kolhapur and Pune.
The initiative and mobilisation by the AIKS in almost all the above conventions has been exemplary. AIKS activists in all districts took special efforts to approach the peasantry through hundreds of village meetings, distribution of leaflets and so on. In several districts, AIKS leaders took the initiative to call joint meetings of farmers’ organisations and many of them have been elected convenors of the district coordination committees. The AIKS state council met twice during this period of struggle – on June 3 and July 3 – and it took several decisions to take forward this united movement effectively with independent initiative.
The last convention at Pune on July 23, which was presided over by respected social activist and trade union leader Dr Baba Adhav, gave the following call for future action:
- In the state assembly’s monsoon session that began on July 24, Bachchu Kadu MLA and Jayant Patil MLC will place the coordination committee’s resolution for complete peasant loan waiver (excluding the richer sections) in both houses of the legislature. Like the last assembly session, in this assembly session too, there will be a ruckus by the opposition on the issues of loan waiver and remunerative prices.
- On August 14, the eve of Independence Day, there will be a complete road blockade (called Chakka Jaam) of national highways and state highways all across Maharashtra by lakhs of peasants for the above two demands. Bullock carts and tractors will also be used by the peasants to enforce this blockade.
- The coordination committee will meet after this action to take stock and decide the future course of struggle.
Student and youth organisations like the SFI and DYFI have also decided to support this struggle. The two organisations have decided to: 1. Convene a meeting of all like-minded student-youth organisations on July 26 and form a coordination committee; 2. Launch a statewide campaign through meetings and leaflets in schools, colleges, villages and towns under the banner ‘We Are All Children of Peasants’; 3. Call for an ‘Education Bandh’ followed by human chains of students and youth all over the state on August 14 in support of the joint Road Blockade call of farmers’ organisations.