Mumbai: The Shiv Sena, which had supported the farmers' bills in the Lok Sabha while the party remained abstain in the Upper House, on Friday has taken a complete U-turn and launched an agitation in Kolhapur, Maharashtra, against the three farmers laws with a slogan ‘’Modi Hatao Desh Bachao.’’ It has also demanded the repeal of the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Assurance and Farm Service Act 2020 and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020.
This is for the first time Shiv Sena, which is leading the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra, has taken a confrontationist role against Modi-led NDA government at the Centre. Interestingly, the party led by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is quite keen for its image makeover by running the Kisan Bachao campaign in the state. Already Congress has launched state and nation-wide agitation against these laws while NCP is planning a similar move.
The saffron party’s move comes days after Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray at his meeting with various farmers organisations had categorically said that the state government will not blindly implement those three farmers laws in Maharashtra. Thackeray went on to add that the government is committed to protecting the interest of farmers which will be at the centre while finalising the future course of action. He also assured the farmers' bodies that the state will not implement these laws until their concerns are taken care of.
Furthermore, Shiv Sena’s decision to take on BJP comes at a time when the latter has proposed a statewide outreach drive to create awareness among farmers and members of the public in general on the recently passed farmers and labour laws.
Shiv Sena is forced to take an aggressive stand as its allies NCP and Congress have objected to the implementation of agriculture laws passed by the Centre in the present format. The state government has set up a cabinet sub-committee to examine the provisions of three laws and suggest suitable amendments.
A section of Shiv Sena wants Thackeray to lead the party's campaign against these laws because the farmers are passing through a major crisis and instead of addressing their woes the Modi government is bent on compromising the farmers' interests.