Mahapanchayats at Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada and Ongole in Andhra Pradesh
At Vizag, workers condemned the government plan to sell Vizag Steel that was established after much struggle
Thousands of peasants and workers observed mahapanchayats at Visakhapatnam (Vizag), Vijayawada and Ongole in Andhra Pradesh on April 18 and 19, 2021. These programmes were decided weeks ago, prior to the alarming rise in Covid-19 cases.
All three events were presided over by All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) State Convenor and former State Agriculture Minister Vadde Shobhanadreeshwar Rao and addressed by Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) Spokesperson Rakesh Tikait and others. Leaders blew conches for upcoming struggle, a traditional practice called ‘shankharavam’.
At Visakhapatnam, the rally took place at the beach with over 10,000 protesters, including a large number of women. Members of the Vizag Steel Protection Struggle Committee jointly organised the event wherein they condemned the central government’s decision on January 27 for a strategic 100 percent sale of Vizag Steel, the public sector pride of the state. The steel plant with over 35,000 workers was set up after much struggle and sacrifice.
“The plant, worth over Rs. 3 lakh crore, is sought to be sold by the Modi regime to its corporates for just around Rs 1,300 crore,” claimed a leader during the rally.
All major trade unions, along with major farmers’ organisations and political parties except the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led a massive state-wide struggle against the privatisation of Vizag Steel for the last three months, including a total Andhra Bandh.
Speakers stressed that the struggle for Vizag Steel is a national struggle against the BJP-RSS-Modi regime that is out to sell India through its privatisation drive. They also said that the Centre is attacking workers, peasants and agricultural workers, who produce the wealth of the country, through farm laws and labour codes. In a show of solidarity, farmer leaders visited the Vizag Steel and addressed workers there.
Later, on April 19, the AIKSCC organised the Vijayawada rally in a hall with physical distancing. Farmer leaders inaugurated a specially made exhibition on Delhi farmers’ struggle. Apart from peasants and workers, middle-class employees and youth participated in large numbers. A delegation of women farmers from Amaravati district met leaders and submitted a memorandum about their serious problems. They have been struggling for the last 500 days.
Then at Ongole, farmers assembled in the afternoon with enthusiastic response. The highlight was a series of caricatures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and billionaire businessman Ambani that were put up at the venue. Songs and dances by agitators enlivened the events.
Courtesy : Sabrang