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Verbosity vibrant summit verses claptrap CWC meeting!
Verbosity and vexed vicious 'Vibrant Summit' verses Claptrap of Corpulent corpus 'CWC Meeting' are corking coquetry by both BJP and the Congress for the farmers and people. In other words it's a pretty colloquy combination to collude and collusion on agriculture and development!
Congress Working Committee (CWC), has decided to go back to basics and opt for a Left of Centre political strategy to highlight the plight of downtrodden particularly peasantry to make inroads in rural India, which has been left out by corporate friendly Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The CWC meeting that held earlier this week deliberated upon the reasons of poll debacles and reached to the conclusion that party workers down the line should be engaged in the decision making. It appears imperative that Party Constitution would be amended in the near future to create a mechanism to involve common party workers in the decision making.

It is the time for the Congress to take bold decision on those senior party leaders who have enjoyed power in the government as well as in the party to fix accountability on those who failed to deliver goods.

After the worst performances of Congress in the General Elections and also in the polls held in the states there after seems to have realized the mistake of being disconnected with its grass-root level workers. A political party is not run by any individual but a collective leadership.

Though, Congress' the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh charted out many pro-poor policies like Food Security, National Rural Guarantee Act, Land Acquisition Act, Forest right Act etc., the party could not cash them on as there was huge communication gap between the party leadership and the workers. Hence, the good policies could not translated into votes as party leaders at both the states and central level either failed to communicate to workers or made no attempt to do so.

The CWC also realized the fact that a space where voices of poor and farmers were raised and highlighted has been vacated by the Left Parties. In a bid to fill this space the Congress that followed pro-reform policies during Congress regime should now go back to villages and assure those who have been left out in India's quest for becoming super power that the party still belong to the farmers and unprivileged sections of the society.

Like the State Odisha, the common worker of the Congress party now has no reach even to the second rung of the party leadership forget the top ranking leaders. The party leadership will have to change its mindset and should re-connect it with those grass-root level workers who made it possible for the leaders to enjoy the fruit of power for years together.

Although BJP Govt's anti-farmer and agriculture strategy is open for the Globalist but in recent CWC meeting there was no strong decision taken on how to spread these issues throughout the country and how it will reach to the common people. In Gujarat there are big nationwide farmers movements continuing against BJP but the Congress has failed to campaign BJP's anti-farmer and agriculture policy. Even the CWC meeting has not taken any agenda on these following issues.

In the name of Vibrant Gujarat Summit police attacked on farmers protesting against the BJP government in the state and the Centre for not ensuring fair returns for cash crops. Police detained several leaders from the farming community and put them in preventive custody.

54-year-old Sagar Rabari, and Lakhan Musafir leader of farmers' organisation, Jameen Adhikar Andolan - Gujarat (JAA-G) were kept in preventive custody. Rabari accused the government behaving in an undemocratic way and says, "Leaders of JAA-G were followed by plain clothe police personnel and local Intelligence Bureau officials detained farmers travelling in private buses when they stopped on the highways for a break. Since this protest rally was a statewide call to the farmers, I started mobilising farmers from various parts of Gujarat. I noticed that many farmers who wanted to be a part of this peaceful rally were detained as soon as they stepped out of their respective villages to take part in the rally. This shows that the police officials were following us right from the beginning."

Activist and author, Persis Ginwalla, was detained when she was returning from the protest site. According to JAA-G, police first detained former BJP Member of Parliament Shivlal Vekaria along with Chandulal Shingala in Rajkot which was followed by the detention of hundreds of farmers in various districts of the state. Other prominent farmers and leaders detained include former Union Cabinet minister Sanat Mehta, MLA Amitbhai Patel, MLA Kaminiben Rana and her husband, Jashubhai and leaders of National Alliance for Peoples' Movement (NAPM), Krishnakant and Swati Desai.

Police said, the arrests were necessary to prevent chaos or untoward incident in and around, the site of the Vibrant Gujarat Summit. Further these protesters did not have permission to hold any rally.

JAA-G had filed a plea in Gujarat High Court, seeking direction to hold a march in Gandhinagar. The court sent notices to Gujarat government. As per the JAA-G press note, "We will continue to protest this loot being promoted by the government in name of investors' summit and development of Gujarat and nation."

The petition states that when the farmers sought permission to hold the rally, the Gujarat Government refused to grant permission, saying there were instructions from Prime Minister's Office (PMO) that no procession should be permitted during Vibrant Gujarat summit. The petition alleges that the application to hold the rally was kept pending.

The petitioner, Rameshbhai Virani says, "That right to express dissent is a fundamental right. By instructing Gujarat government not to allow any procession, PMO is violating fundamental rights. The petitioner has also questioned the district superintendent of police, Gandhinagar, for imposing Section 144 CrPC (banning assembly of more than four persons). This notification itself would be self-contradictory since in the summit the government and BJP is collecting people in thousands to attend it."

The arrests were not a one-off incident. In December 2014, police arrested around 300 farmers from Jamnagar, Amreli and other parts of the Saurashtra. According to reports, a suicide by a cotton grower in Amreli district and the alleged man-handling of detained farmers in police custody in Lalpur, Jamnagar, added fuel to the farmers' ire which was followed by arrests. As per the statistics of Gujarat Home Department, 25 farmers killed themselves in 2012-2013 due to crop failures following uncertain rains.

Further Virani said, "Farmers are not getting remunerative prices, which leads to farmers committing suicide across the country. Farmers are paying 2 to 2.5 times more for production of cotton while procurement price has decreased by 45 per cent." On the other hand, the yield has been impacted by erratic weather and insect attacks even on the genetically modified, pest-resistant cotton crops.

Bhartiya Kisan Sangh, affiliated to RSS, which has been taking up the issue of the farmers' problems, back tracked from these protests. Farmers demanded that the government should make arrangements for the Cotton Corporation of India to buy the crop at Rs 1,100 per 20 kg. For groundnut, too, farmers have demanded the price be raised from Rs 850 to Rs 1,100 per 20 kg. BJP government is yet to pay any heed to these demands.

Farmer leaders are demanding there should be no de-commanding of Narmada waters and diversion towards industries. Over the last few years, Gujarat government, in order to set up industries, has been shrinking the command area of Narmada canal, which has decreased the water supply to many agriculturally important areas such as Mandal and Dholera.

Also farmers claim a repeal of Special Investment Region (SIR) Act, and Irrigation Act. SIRs are industrial hubs, which have been planned across the state of Gujarat to promote various kinds of industries. On the other hand, the Irrigation Act makes it very difficult for the farmers to draw water from canals or dig wells below a certain depth. These farmers have been also demanding the withdrawal of amendments to theland acquisition Act passed by the Cabinet through the ordinance route.

The Congress has a responsibility to provide an honest and credible opposition to the country to keep a watch and check the unilateral and arbitrary policy decisions the current government takes. However, the party has failed to prove to the people about its ability to take on the government on the anti-people policies.

It is unfortunate that the apex decision making body of the party that deliberated upon the future course of action for its revival failed to come out with any formula and only announced that the party will take up these issues confronting farmers and poor by staging protests against land acquisition, coal ordinances, minimum support price for farm products and proposed amendments in the forest act.

The CWC was expected to formulate a comprehensive plan of action to highlight the plight of rural India whose slowdown is all set to hit country's agricultural growth rate as a shift in government spending ordered by Narendra Modi is hitting rural consumers and the industries with which they are connected.

In order to tame the inflation rate Modi government has contained increase in farm support prices because he wants to invest savings in infrastructure and skills. This move by the government affected the companies which made profits from booming rural demands and are now struggling for their survival.

However, the CWC did not even bother to take note of this. There had not been any statement from the Congress side on the crack down on the farmers of Gujarat against the state and the federal governments for not ensuring fair returns for cash crops like groundnut and cotton. This all happened when PM Modi was propagating his 'Vibrant Gujarat' campaign in Gandhi Nagar in which many global dignitaries including UN Secretary General Ban-ki-Moon and the US Secretary of State John Kerry participated.

It seems that Congress has reconciled to the fact that it cannot play the role of a constructive and credible opposition that can show the farmers and those who are hit by the industry-friendly policies of the current government. The resurgence of Congress lies on the performances of its state governments.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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