New Delhi, March 12: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Poonam Mahajan on Monday stoked controversy when she said that farmers and tribals protesting in Maharashtra were being misguided by ‘urban Maoists’. Speaking to reporters outside parliament, Mahajan said,”Sadly, tribals have been captured by the Maoists and their centre is in Pune. The government can do a lot for them, but the (Maoists’) ideology is stopping them. We have seen urban Maoists in many cities of India. They go to districts which are called Maoists affected areas.”
“Maoists are misguiding them (the farmers). It is the responsibility of the Maharashtra government to sit with the farmers and sort out the problem,” she said as Mumbai’s Azad Maidan turned into a sea of red with thousands of farmers carrying red flags converging after walking around 180 km from neighbouring Nashik district for six days.
Slamming Mahajan, CPI(M) leader MB Rajesh said, “The Kisan Sabha is leading the rally. One can see the posters, banners and flags. I am scared the BJP may also call them anti-nationals.” The main demand on the farmers’ list includes an unconditional loan waiver and transfer of forest land to tribal farmers who have been tilling it for years.
Earlier in the day, Maharashtra farmers called off their protest after reaching an agreement with the Devendra Fadnavis-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government.
Addressing the agitating farmers, CM Fadnavis announced that his government has accepted all demands and said that the talks with the delegation of farmers were very conducive. “We have accepted most of their demands and have given them a written letter,” Fadnavis told reporters.
(With inputs from agencies)