The BJP’s Bengal unit announced staging a demonstration at Singur in Hooghly for three days from December 14 to protest against the state government’s alleged apathy towards farmers.
“The Kisan Morcha (the BJP’s farmers’ wing) will organise this dharna at Singur from next Tuesday. It will happen under the leadership of Kisan Morcha chief Mahadeb Sarkar and all other (party) leaders will visit the protesting farmers by turns,” the party’s Nandigram MLA and leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Suvendu Adhikari said on Saturday.
Suvendu, along with Sarkar and other party leaders, met governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Saturday with a memorandum, requesting him to instruct the government to act for farmers’ welfare.
According to Suvendu, three farmers have recently committed suicide in the state — the latest being at Chandrakona in West Midnapore last week — but the Bengal government has shown no signs of assisting the ailing agriculture sector.
“Since May 5 this year the chief minister and her party are busy… expanding their base in various other parts of the nation. This is why they have overlooked the needs of the farmers in Bengal,” Suvendu told journalists after his meeting with governor Dhankhar.
In its memorandum, the BJP has demanded that fertilisers and seeds be distributed for free to the farmers.
It also sought a compensation of Rs 20 lakh each for the families of those farmers who have committed suicide.
The party also demanded a VAT cut on petrol and diesel as well as free electricity for farmers.
Finally, the party demanded that crops be collected at minimum support price (MSP) from farmers and not from middlemen.
Singur has been the seat of one of the most prominent farmer movements in Bengal and has been instrumental in the ascent of Mamata Banerjee to power. BJP sources said the party decided to choose Singur for the protest precisely because of this.
The party wishes to ignite a sentiment among farmers that Mamata who came to power with the help of farmers in 2011 and has shown her solidarity to the farmers” movement against the three central farm laws — junked recently — is actually indifferent to their welfare in her own state.
Sayantan Basu, a state general secretary of the BJP, has been given the task to oversee these protests. Basu will be in Singur over the next two days to mobilise farmers for the movement.