Farmers from across the country converged in Delhi once again, in support of the opposition-backed no confidence motion in Parliament and to protest against the government's inaction on farmer distress.
The procession was organised by All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee(AIKSCC) in support of two farmer-friendly bills which were meant to be introduced in Friday's Lok Sabha session although the move was hampered by the no confidence vote against the government.
Carrying black flags, the farmers marched from Mandi House to Parliament Street in central Delhi, demanding a minimum support price of 50 per cent above the cost of production.
The government, however, says this demand has been met - the new minimum support prices offer this profit.
"No government tried to enhance farm incomes. This government has enhanced farm incomes," BJP leader Rajnath Singh said in Parliament on Friday. "You can argue whether farm income can be doubled by 2022 or not, but nobody can doubt the intent of our PM," he added.
Those leading the protest deny this.
"This historic MSP of the Modi government is a historic lie," said Yogendra Yadav, the leader of Swaraj India.
Farmers say the government's new MSP only offers 50 per cent above partial cost of production. The cost of owning land, or not renting it out, is not included in the government's estimates. For example, while the farmer should get Rs 2,340 for a quintal of paddy, the government only offers Rs 1,750.
Two farmer bills are being introduced in this Lok Sabha session to meet these demands - one, to implement the real MSP over comprehensive cost of production, and the second, to grant a complete loan waiver - much lower, farmers say, than the arrears they are owed if the Swaminathan Commission's recommendations were implemented 11 years ago.
"The government should not just look at farmer losses, we cannot afford to educate our future generations, who is evaluating the losses from that," said 65-year-old Rajkumar, a farmer from Meerut.
A massive farmers' march on Delhi, like the one in Mumbai, has been declared for November 30. And the farmers promise to turn up in full strength.
"We have hope. If they give it or not is another matter, but we come with full hope," said 45 year old Phoolchand, a farmer from Pilibhit. "We have been coming with hope since a long time, we are here now, and we will keep coming."
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