Mumbai, Jan 24, 2021: Thousands of farmers from across 21 districts of Maharashtra have gathered at Nashik on Saturday and began a march to cover the 180 kilometres to state capital Mumbai.
Visuals showed a sea of farmers waving flags and carrying banners snaking their way through the roads of the Kasara Ghat region between the two cities, a report in NDTV said.
The farmers who are agitating against the farm laws are expected to reach Mumbai in a few hours, where they will participate in a rally at the famous Azad Maidan on Monday.
NCP president Sharad Pawar on Friday had said he will take part in the protest in Mumbai to express support for farmers agitating against the new agri- marketing laws enacted by the central government. Talking to reporters in Kolhapur, around 375km from here, the former Union agriculture minister noted that the agitating farmers have rejected the Centre’s offer to suspend the new laws for 18 months.
"The government proposed suspending the laws for 18 months. But the farmers have rejected it. They (farmers) have asked the government to repeal the laws and then sit for discussion. "The protesting farmers well-wishers from Maharashtra met me, met the chief minister. They told us they will on January 24 or January 25 unite all those who are supporting the agitating farmers.
"They invited us for the same. We said okay we will come," Pawar said. Farmers, agitating for nearly two months outside Delhi, are demanding a repeal of the agri laws which seek to encourage private trade, contract farming and remove stock limit on foodgrains.
Meanwhile, around 1,200 farmers in 90 vehicles have left from Nashik on Saturday under the aegis of the All India Kisan Sabha’s (AIKS) Maharashtra began march to Mumbai.
The rally in Maharashtra is part of the call given by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), which is leading protests in Delhi, to intensify and broaden the struggle from January 23 to 26. More farmers are expected to join the rally in Mumbai.
In three day sit-in at Mumbai’s Azad ground, the farmers will submit a memo to the Governor on January 25. On January 26, there will be a Republic Day flag hoisting at Azad Maidan.
Farmers near Delhi borders will take out a tractor rally on the Republic Day, sources in Delhi Police have confirmed adding that police are considering multiple routes for the rally.
“Routes will be like dedicated loops. There will be multiple routes for Farmers’ tractor rally. Farmers leaders will have to agree that they will follow them strictly,” police sources said on Sunday.
Sources add that the protesting farmers need to abide by each and every rule of the rally issued by Delhi Police. Further, no anti-national slogans or posters is allowed during the rally.