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‘Patels’ stir can be turned into farmers’ agitation’

Pune: Noted farmers’ leader, economist and former MP from Maharashtra Sharad Joshi, who had aggressively taken up the agriculturists’ cause in the 80’s, today said he saw a potential of converting the reservation agitation of the Patel community in Gujarat into a farmers’ agitation.

Joshi, who also announced his intention to restart farmers’ movement with a possible alliance with NCP chief Sharad Pawar, said, “The Patels in Gujarat are predominantly farmers.”

The main issue of ensuring a price higher than production cost of farm produce has remained still un-addressed as the successive governments only announced “relief packages” in time of agrarian distress, he said.

Joshi’s statement assumes significance in the light of Pawar’s latest announcement calling for ‘jail bharo’ agitation to highlight the farmer’s plight.

“The synergy emanating from this (Patels’) stir on the issue of reservations can be used to promote the farmers’ cause as the community is showing signs of economic unrest,” he said, talking to a Marathi news channel.

He, however, clarified that he was against any kind of reservations as they lead to social backwardness.

Joshi, the founder of Shetkari Sanghatana, also said that he was in agreement with Pawar who favours use of technology in the agriculture sector and GM/BT crops.

“Let us see how we can work together on the farmers’ issues and whether I should make Pawar my leader,” he added.