Kolkata: Attempting to regain the ground from the very rural hamlet where the seeds of their ouster from power after a 34-year rule in West Bengal were sown following peasant protests around a decade back, the Communist Party of India-Marxist’s farmer arms would take out a march from Singur in Hooghly district from Wednesday.
Around 10,000 farmers, share croppers and agricultural workers will take part in the ‘Singur to Raj Bhavan Abhijan’ (Singur to Raj Bhavan march) to highlight a series of crises engulfing the agrarian sector in the eastern state and press for a eight-point charter of demands.
Singur was the original site for Tata Motors’ Nano small car factory as per a pact signed by the state’s erstwhile CPI-M led Left Front government in 2006, but following volatile farmer protests, the company decided to shift the plant to Sanand in Gujarat.
On the other hand, the then principal opposition Trinamool Congress led agrarian protests turned the state’s political dynamics upside down and the party rode to power in 2011 decimating the Leftists in the once impregnable ‘red fort’.
Since then in election after election, the LF’s marginalization has continued unchecked, with the BJP capturing the main opposition space from the Leftists in recent by-elections and rural body polls.
But over Wednesday and Thursday, the CPI-M’s peasant bodies — All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) and All India Agricultural Workers Union (AIAWU) — would jointly organise the march from Singur where the Trinamool Congress government has returned the land, acquired by its predecessor LF regime for the Nano plant, following a Supreme Court order in 2016.
The marchers are expected to be joined by 40,000 others from various parts of the state, who would conduct rallies and campaigns demanding the state’s present rulers take initiative to set up industries on lands earlier acquired by the state government for industrialization including Singur.
Among other demands of the marchers are work for all, waiver of agricultural debt, end of discrimination among Singur’s farmers, peasant and sharecroppers in providing government welfare schemes and implementation of the M S Swaminathan Commission recommendations.
The march forms an important part of the all India ‘Kisan Mukti March’, that will culminate in New Delhi on November 30. The New Delhi farmer mobilisation is being organized by the All India Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), an umbrella organization of nearly 180 unions.
AIKS general secretary Hannan Mollah would inaugurate the march from Ratanpur, Singur, from where 2,500 people will proceed towards Kolkata. On November 29, nearly 16,000 farmers and agricultural workers would start their march towards Kolkata. On the way, they would be joined by rallyists from East & West Medinipur and other districts. They would then proceed towards central Kolkata.