Farmers' march reaches Thane, to gherao Assembly on Monday

The massive Long March of the Maharashtra unit of the All India Kisan Sabha. Express

Over 50,000 farmers and tribals associated with All Indian Kisan Sabha (AIKS) of the CPI (M) are likely to reach Mumbai on Monday for participating in a rally against the Fadnavis Government. They will proceed to Vidhan Bhavan later in the day.

The farmers, who have banded together under the Left-affiliated All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), reached Mumbai yesterday afternoon after a grueling 180-km journey for six days from Nashik. The aim is to lay siege to the legislature by protesting outside Mumbai's Vidhan Sabha. Complete loan waiver for the farmers and implementation of the Forest Rights Act are some of the important demands of the agitators. Several of the farmers were seen walking with swollen legs and torn slippers.

Traveling by foot for almost a week, eating, bathing and sleeping at open grounds or on river banks along the way, the farmers are scheduled to reach Vidhan Bhavan Monday. "We are ready to hold talks with farmers and discuss their problems". "The farmers have come from such far-off places". This farmers' ire will destroy the government, says the Sena in its mouthpiece "Saamana'. I am confident that the farmers can expect a positive outcome at tomorrow's meeting".

Fadnavis said the government was not a mere silent observer but had made proper arrangement for traffic movement and also deployed medical vans on the route of march.

Ajit Nawale of the AIKS, however, dismissed the overture. All the farmers irrespective cast, religion and political affiliations, who have joined this agitation, are important. The BJP-led government had also rolled out a loan-waiver package costing Rs 34,200-crore to the exchequer. "In the second phase, we will fight for making farmers across Maharashtra fully debt-free".

"The state government has started discussions with us".

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One of the biggest morchas to have been undertaken by farmers has entered Mumbai on Sunday.

The ABKS was part of the steering committee of farmers' outfits that started unprecedented strikes past year.

"Agrarian distress is linked to malnutrition".

They said that farmers were also protesting against the state governments land acquisition for projects like high speed rail and super highways. MNS chief Raj Thackeray also met the protestors and voiced solidarity with the farmers. We are openly supporting the agitating farmers. "We have marched more than 100km and will go back only when all our demands are fulfilled".

Nationalist Congress party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar and Congress state president Ashok Chavan declared their support to the protest.

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