Nagpur: Leaders from across the political spectrum are assembling in Akola in Western Vidarbha to raise the issue of agriculture prices.
Former Union finance minister Yashwant Sinha — who will lead a farmers’ agitation — and rebel Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP and cinema star Shatrughan Sinha will address a convention of cotton, soya bean and paddy growers organised by Shetkari Jagar Manch at Akola.
Like last year, Mr Yashwant Sinha and some farm activists may sit on a fast to corner the government, sources indicated.
Mr Yashwant Sinha, Mr Shatrughan Sinha and AAP MP Sanjay Singh, before leaving for Amravati on the way to Akola, launched an attack on the Narendra Modi government and accused it of destroying democratic institutions, including Parliament and trying to manipulate the media in what they said was “undeclared Emergency clam-ped by Modi on the country.”
“This Emergency is more dangerous than one the country witnessed in the late ‘70s because the media is being controlled while the CBI, RBI and judiciary have been compromised,” the ex-FM said. Asked why the stalwart has been unable to convince his son Jayant Sinha, a minister in the Modi government, to quit, the senior politician said he and his son had both failed to convince each other about their views.
Mr Singh said, “The Rafale deal was a big scam and instead of satisfying people with an explanation, Modi went on a spree to ‘hijack’ national icons like Subhas Chandra Bose, Sardar Patel and Swami Vivekananda.”
Mr Yashwant Sinha said he would consider offers from Congress and other parties for election campaigning against the BJP in Rajasthan, MP and Chhattisgarh where polls are due next month. Mr Shatrughan Sinha said even at this stage if Mr Modi came out clean and admitted to mistakes committed in the Rafale deal, people could “forgive the BJP for its sins of commission and omission”.
Last December, Mr Yashwant Sinha had resorted to similar tactics, embarrassing the state government, and he had to end the fast after getting a written assurance.
Former CM and Congress leader Prithv-iraj Chavan and Rajya Sabha MP Kumar Ketkar have also been invited to address the farmers. Ashish Deshmukh, who recently quit the BJP to join the Congress is playing a crucial role and has already toured the region to mobilise support for the convention.
The convention’s participants are expected to demand hefty compensation for farmers in Vidarbha and Marat-hwada, who were hit badly this kharif season because of scanty rains.