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Fight for blanket loan waiver will go on, says Shiv Sena

LiveMint logoLiveMint 25-06-2017 Abhiram Ghadyalpatil

A day after Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis announced a “historic” farm loan waiver worth Rs34,022 crore, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray said the decision was indeed “historic but not satisfactory” as it did not fully meet the demands of farmers. Thackeray chose to make this point on Sunday at village Puntamba in Ahmednagar district where farmers had given the call for strike from 1 June.

Thackeray also said that the loan waiver was historic because it was a culmination of the Shiv Sena’s “15-year long struggle for farmers’ cause”. Fadnavis had said that the loan waiver was historic.

“It is an irony that farmers in the village which lit the fire of farmers’ unrest have not got what they demanded. I know you are not happy but unlike BJP ministers who probably lack the courage to come here, I am here to stand with your demands. We will continue to fight for a blanket loan waiver,” Thackeray told farmers and others in Puntamba.

Interestingly, on Saturday when Fadnavis announced the modalities of the loan waiver, senior Shiv Sena leader and Maharashtra transport minister Diwakar Raote had hailed it and added that though Thackeray had insisted on the loan waiver cap of Rs2 lakh per farmer, he agreed to Rs1.5 lakh cap when it was demonstrated to him that this ceiling would cover 90% of the farmers in the state.

Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar said in Pune that though the loan waiver was not fully satisfactory, it should be welcomed as a “first step” by the Fadnavis government. “It helps some farmers and I am not of the view that it must be criticised just a day after. But it leaves out many farmers and their demands will have to be taken up. It is also a fact that rarely all demands are met. We will take up the demands of those farmers not covered by this loan waiver,” Pawar said.

The steering committee of farm activists, which spearheaded the farmers’ protest, declared in Mumbai that it would resume the protest by launching a Sangharsha Yatra (struggle march) in Nashik district on 9 July. Ajit Nawle, convener of the committee, told reporters that the Sangharsha Yatra would be carried out in all districts of the state between 9 July and 23 July to demand a blanket loan waiver.

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