Thousands of farmers from 21 districts in Maharashtra came together at Nashik district and commenced a 180-km march to Mumbai where they will participate in a rally at the iconic Azad Maidan in Mumbai against the three new farm laws.
The rally, which is organized by Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Sabha, will be held on tomorrow (Jan 25). NCP chief Sharad Pawar is expected to address the rally along with former Union agriculture minister, state Congress president Balasaheb Thorat and Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray.
Visuals show a sea of farmers, many waving flags and carrying banners, marching towards the city of dreams. Some also arrived in cars, jeeps, vans and trucks donning red flags.
According to a statement by the All India Kisan Sabha's (AIKS) Maharashtra unit, around 15,000 farmers set out for Mumbai from Nashik on Saturday. The state Congress unit has also extended their support to the protest.
"The rally is being held to support and expand the two-month-long farmers' struggle in Delhi for a repeal of the three farm laws and for a central law to guarantee a remunerative Minimum Support Price (MSP) and procurement all over the country," the statement further said.
After the public meeting tomorrow, the protesters will march to the Raj Bhavan and submit a memorandum to Governor B S Koshyari.
Meanwhile, security has been ramped up at the venue with drones over 600 police officials deployed to keep an eye on the protest.
The three laws have been projected by the Centre as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove middlemen and allow farmers to sell their produce anywhere in the country. The farmers however expressed their apprehension that the new laws would eliminate the Minimum Support Price (MSP) and do away with the 'mandi' system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.
Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and western UP, have been camping near Delhi demanding the repeal of the laws. Moreover, multiple rounds of talks between the farmers and centre have failed.
On Republic day, farmers will carry out tractor rally in Delhi, the permission for which has been granted by Delhi police.