The Maharashtra Opposition parties have framed an informal code of conduct for its leaders and workers participating in the third phase of the Sangharsh yatra for farm loan waiver – “No fancy clothes or jewellery, no sunglasses and definitely no arguments with citizens”.
Six prominent parties — the Congress, NCP, Samajwadi Party (SP), Peasants and Workers Party (PWP), Republican Party (Kawade) and United Janata Dal — have joined hands to take on the BJP-led Maharashtra government over farm loan waiver. Following the UP Government’s decision, the Opposition parties are mounting pressure on the Devendra Fadnavis Government to grant Rs30,500-crore loan waiver to farmers in Maharashtra.
The yatra will start from Kolhapur in Maharashtra on April 25. The three-day protest march will cover three districts of western Maharashtra — Kolhapur, Satara and Sangli – that were not covered in the earlier phases. After a series of electoral defeats, the march is seen as the opposition’s attempt to reconnect with farmers and rural areas.
As part of the Sangharsh Yatra, leaders and workers visit villages and interact with farmers and families affected where farmers committed suicides. The dress code has been given to ensure the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) does not get a chance to criticise the opposition.
“Leaders have been asked to wear simple clothes. They cannot wear sunglasses or gold ornaments at the march,” said a senior leader, adding the idea is to relate to farmers in distress.
Almost all leaders will wear a ‘Gamcha’, a traditional cotton towel used in rural areas, to protect themselves from heat during their visit to villages. “Leaders have been asked to listen to the farmers. They have been told not to argue if people point out the mistakes made by their government,” he said.
Sources said organisers have been asked to keep the menu for lunch and dinner during the yatra “simple”. In the first two phases, some leaders ate only ‘pithla and Bhakri’ (thick gravy of gram flour and jowar or rice roti), traditional food of farmers in several areas of Maharashtra.
Leaders have also been asked to avoid hiring crowd for rallies. “We want people to think of us as their own. This will help us change the perception created by the ruling BJP,” said another senior leader.