The 22nd Congress of the CPI(M) expresses its solidarity with and support for the Kisan struggles that are being unleashed in different parts of India against the neo-liberal and agrarian policies of the Central and State Governments. The BJP central government led by Narendra Modi has proved itself to be the most anti-peasant, pro-corporate, and communal government in the history of independent India.
There have been massive Kisan struggles in recent years on the issues of land rights, loan waiver, remunerative prices, crop insurance, pension and on other burning peasant demands. There have also been impressive struggles of agricultural workers for the proper implementation of MNREGA, house sites, social security and other issues.
The last four years have seen a spate of united and independent struggles of the peasantry. They began in 2015 to denounce the bill and the ordinance to make several anti-peasant amendments to the Land Acquisition Act of 2013. The All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) took up cudgels against this and brought together several other kisan organisations to form a platform called the Bhoomi Adhikar Andolan (BAA). As a result of a series of struggles all over the country and the united opposition in the Rajya Sabha, the ordinance was not re-promulgated. It was a major victory for the peasant movement. However the bill has not been withdrawn and remains in cold storage. The BAA has taken up struggles on various issues of land acquisition, banning of cattle trade and also on the issue of lynching of farmers by cow vigilantes.
During the 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign, the BJP manifesto had made several promises to the peasantry. One of the most prominent was the implementation of the recommendation of the National Commission on Farmerschaired by M S Swaminathanthat the minimum support price (MSP) be fixed at one and a half times the cost of production (that is, C2 + 50). Not a single promise has been implemented in the last four years. Farmer suicides caused by indebtedness have risen by over 40 per cent since the Modi regime came to power. Despite this deepening tragedy, the central government, which writes off over two lakh crores to the corporates, turns a blind eye to the lakhs of crores of Non Performing Assets (NPAs) owed to banks by the corporates, and shamelessly acquiesces in the fleeing of Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi from the country, refuses to say a word about waiving loans to the peasantry.
The All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) was formed in the wake of the Mandsaur police firing in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh in June last year to deal with the two crucial issues of loan waiver and remunerative prices. This platform now has over 190 farmers’ organisations, and the AIKS is an important constituent. In November 2017, it organised a massive two-day Kisan Sansad and a Mahila Kisan Sansad in New Delhi in which tens of thousands of farmers from all over the country participated. Two bills on loan waiver and remunerative prices were placed in the Kisan Sansad and, after statewide consultations, are to be placed before Parliament.
There have also been massive and consistent struggles on these peasant issues led independently by the AIKS in States like Maharashtra and Rajasthan, in which tens of thousands of peasants have been mobilised. In Rajasthan, these struggles have braved repression. The latest in this series was the unprecedented Kisan Long March in Maharashtra. The struggles in Rajasthan and Maharashtra have succeeded in wresting several demands from their BJP-led state governments.
There has also been a consistent and successful struggle for land rights led by the AIKS in Karnataka. Impressive peasant actions have also been held recently in Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and elsewhere. The All India Agricultural Workers Union has also led major struggles on the MNREGA and other issues in Kerala, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and elsewhere.
The Central Kisan Committee of the AIKS has decided to broaden and intensify the peasant struggle all over the country. It has decided to conduct a campaign to collect 10 crore signatures of farmers and other citizens across India to demand loan waiver, remunerative prices, land rights, pensions, and comprehensive crop insurance.
On August 9, 2018, lakhs of farmers in the country will submit these signatures to every District Collector and will then conduct a peaceful and democratic countrywide Jail Bharo (Fill Up Jails) agitation on these demands.
Another major decision taken is to organise a massive countrywide Mazdoor-Kisan Rally in Delhi on September 5, 2018, jointly by the CITU, AIKS and AIAWU. It will be an important step towards worker-peasant unity.
The 22nd Congress of the CPI(M) calls on the entire Party to actively support these Kisan struggles, with the clear objective of isolating and defeating the BJP central government and of forging the unity and strengthening the influence of the left and democratic forces in India.