In a show of solidarity with farmers protesting at Delhi borders seeking revocation of three contentious agricultural laws introduced by the Modi government, farmers from all parts of Karnataka have planned a tractor rally in Bengaluru on Republic Day.
The rally reportedly will also be in protest against the Karnataka government which has enacted similar anti-farmer legislations.
Movement of the farmers
Badagalapura Nagendra, a senior leader of the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS), has said that this is "a movement of the farmers and the workers". Irrespective of the organisations with which farmers are affiliated to, he said the rally will be a "united one".
Not only on tractors but approximately 25000 people on other vehicles such as two-wheelers are expected to join the rally. The rally will be flagged-off from Madikeri's Kutta on January 25 and reach Bengaluru via Bidadi.
The organisers of the rally have made proper arrangement for those coming from different places to put up for the night. Vehicles coming from places nearing Belagavi and Hubballi will stay overnight at Chitradurga, while those coming from Raichur and Bellary nearby areas will be putting up at the Tumakuru Matt. All of them are expected to assemble at 11 a.m. on the outskirts of the city and scheduled to enter sharp at 12 p.m.
The rally is planned to begin soon after the chief minister hoists the national flag.
No reason to deny permission
The organisers have also assured that the protesters would refrain from violence, and hence, there should be no reason for the police to deny them permission.
According to Karnataka State Sugarcane Farmers' Association president Kurubur Shanthakumar, a delegation of another 100 to 200 people, led by farmers' leader Manje Gowda, is further expected to join this rally.
"While the first group has left in four vehicles with 50 kg of rice, 40 kg of vegetables, coconuts, and medicine, the second group is expected to leave the state by train," Shanthakumar told TheNewsMinute.
The Karnataka government also passed similar legislation, last year, including the Karnataka Land reforms (Amendment) Act 2020 and Karnataka Agricultural Produce Marketing (Regulation and Development) (Amendment) Act, 2020, which farmers stated to be harmful to their local produce and favour large corporations.
Hundreds of farmers had last week joined the Congress workers in separate rallies across Bengaluru to express solidarity with those protesting in Delhi.
Court stays implementation of farm laws
The Supreme Court on January 12 stayed the implementation of the contentious new farm laws, including the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, till further orders to break the impasse between the agitating farmers and the Central government.
The apex court also constituted a four-member committee to review the laws and file a report.
Since the last two months, farmers, majorly from Punjab and Haryana, have been sitting on the border of the national capital in protests, demanding to repeal the three laws and bring a new law to retain the Minimum Support Price (MSP).
Following, several rounds of futile talks between the farmers' unions and the government, which failed to culminate any strong result, the former proposed to hold a tractor rally on the occasion of Republic Day. In their negotiations, the farmers have refused to accept an offer to withhold these laws; instead, urged to remove barriers to inter-state trade and provide a framework for electronic trading of agricultural produce.
As the state governments will not be able to collect the market fee, cess or levy for trade outside the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) markets, farmers believe that these laws will gradually end the mandi system and leave farmers at the mercy of corporates, further leading to their exploitation.