Groundxero | 13th November, 2023
In the context of the Assembly Elections to five states, Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) – a platform of farmer unions which spearheaded the historic struggle against the three Farm Laws in 2020-21 – reiterated its stand on elections: It will not contest elections or extend support to any candidate or political party. SKM has announced that it will campaign during the election with the slogan – ‘Drive Out Corporates, Punish BJP, Save the Nation’.
This decision follows dissatisfaction within the organisation when three of its constituent members in Rajasthan extended support to a specific political party, a move deemed against the agreed-upon decision.
As was decided, the leadership of SKM participated in the campaign in Dimni Constituency in Morena District of Madhya Pradesh and urged the farmers and the people to ensure defeat of the BJP candidate and Union Minister of Agriculture Narendra Singh Tomar. SKM held Tomar responsible for enacting the three anti-farmer Farm Acts and the death of 725 farmer martyrs including the martyrs of Lakhimpur Kheri during the 380 days long historic Farmers Struggle.
In a press release on 11th November, 2023, SKM pointed out that while all constituent organisations and individual members of SKM are free to campaign, support or vote for any candidate or political party of their choice, however, SKM as the platform of farmers and farm-workers of India shall not be used for election campaign for any particular candidate or party.
SKM has also extended solidarity to farmers in Nandurbar District of Maharashtra, who are currently engaged in a struggle against the injustices perpetrated by Nagai Devi Sugars Pvt Ltd. SKM has demanded immediate release of arrears of 5-10 months to more than 1300 sugarcane farmers in the district.
Farmers are demanding a fair price of Rs 400 per quintal for the upcoming season for sugarcane. In a press note, SKM urged the Maharashtra government to intervene promptly and declare the rightful price of sugarcane for the 2023-24 season, and take necessary action to clear the arrears of the farmers. It said, “Failure to do so may lead to an intensification of the struggle, as SKM remains steadfast in its commitment for securing justice for sugarcane growers across Maharashtra.”