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BJP mediation fails to persuade Hazare

by Raju Vernekar
0 comment 3 minutes read

IT Correspondent
Mumbai, Jan 23:

Noted social worker Padma Bhushan Anna Hazare has decided to begin a hunger   strike on 30 January at his native place Ralegan Siddhi in Ahmednagar district in Western Maharashtra, from 30 January, as a protest against alleged failure of the Union Government to implement assurances given to him about farm reforms earlier.
In a letter dated December 15, 2020, to Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Hazare had reminded him about a written assurance given to him by former Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh on February 05, 2019, to implement the demands raised by him. Based on that assurance he had called off his agitation in 2019. However although nearly an year has passed by, the government has not taken any action.
On Friday, former Maharashtra Chief Minister and present leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Devendra Fadnavis and other BJP leaders including Girsh Mahajan and Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil called on him and urged him to call off his proposed agitation. However Hazare did not budge saying that if the government is unable to act upon its written assurance, now he cannot rely on anybody’s oral assurance.
Hazare later told media that Fadnnavis had come with a letter from Tomar but there was nothing concrete in that letter and as such he was firm on beginning his hunger strike from 30 January. Whereas Fadnavis told media that every effort would be made to persuade Hazare from undertaking the fast. “Hazare is a pride of Maharashtra and at this stage old age he should not start agitation risking his health”.
Assurance by former minister
In response to Hazare’s hunger strike, former Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh had visited “Ralegan-Siddhi” in 2018 and had assured him to take action on his demands. Fadnavis was also present in that meeting. Based on the assurance, he Hazare had called off his hunger strike.
In his letter to Tomar, Hazare had pointed out the issues agreed upon by Radha Mohan Singh. The issues included to grant a quasi-judicial status and an autonomy to the the Commission for Agricultural Costs & Prices (CACP), to fix prices of agriculture produce based on C2+50 formula as per the recommendations of the Swaminathan Committee, to fix Minimum Support Price (MSP) for fruits, vegetables, and milk, to give 80 percent grant for procurement of agriculture equipment used for Drip Irrigation, Sprinkler Irrigation, etc and to set up a high powered committee led by the Union Minister of State for Agriculture to look into farmers’ woes in general.
Initially Hazare had sought permission from Delhi administration to undertake hunger strike at either Ram Leela Maidan or Jantar Mantar in Delhi. But he has changed plans in view of the bitter cold in Delhi.
He had also refused to join ongoing stir against three farm acts when an 11 member delegation of agitating farmers, called on him in December last and urged him to join the stir.  However, 83-year-old Hazare had told them that although he supports the stir, he will not be able to join it given the severe cold and his weak health.
Kisan Baburao Hazare, popularly known as Anna Hazare, is a social activist who led movements to promote rural development, increase government transparency, and investigate and punish corruption in public life.
He had started a hunger strike in 5 April 2011 to exert pressure on the Union government to enact a stringent anti-corruption law, the Lokpal Bill, for the institution of an ombudsman, with the power to deal with corruption in public places. The fast led to nationwide protests in support. The fast ended after the government accepted his demands and issued a gazette notification on the formation of a joint committee, consisting of government and civil society representatives, to draft the legislation. Subsequently the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 was passed.

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