Nashik, Dec 11 (IANS): Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) President Sharad Pawar will join a protest by farmers to flay the Centre’s ban on onion exports, officials said here on Monday.
The 83-year-old, along with several party leaders, will join the protests by the onion growers in Chandwad town in the afternoon with thousands of local farmers expected to participate as the police beefed up security at the venue.
Since the past few months, the tillers have been agitating against the ban on onion exports imposed by the Centre till March 31, 2024, ostensibly to control the prices of the teary vegetable in the local markets.
“Pawar will participate in the protest this afternoon and may arrest the farmers briefly. The aim is to draw the central government’s attention to the plight of the tillers who are now getting very low prices for their produce,” said an NCP (SP) Pune leader.
Farmers in Nashik and other parts have been staging regular protests since the past few months with strikes in the APMCs demanding a roll-back of the export ban.
Politicians across parties have said that the export ban has proved to be a double-whammy in the wake of the drought-like situation with uneven rains in monsoon, and recently the unseasonal rains/hailstorms that ravaged crops in winter.
This is the first time in four years that Pawar, a Rajya Sabha Member, will be participating in a direct field agitation for a common public cause.
In November 2019, the veteran Maratha had plunged full-throated in the desperate attempts to save the (then) newly-formed Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), after the dawn swearing-in ceremony of the BJP's Devendra Fadnavis as Chief Minister and breakaway leader Ajit Pawar as Deputy Chief Minister, and their two-man regime crashed after barely 80 hours.