Showtime for serial-protestor Ayyakannu again
Published: 17th July 2017 04:00 AM |
From being a renegade saffronite to becoming the best-known face of agitating Tamil Nadu farmers, P Ayyakannu, president of the Association for Interlinking National-South Indian Rivers, has indeed come a very long way. Till some months ago, little was known about this advocate by training who had risen to the position of state deputy general secretary of the RSS-affiliated Bharatiya Kisan Sangh but was chucked later.
Ayyakannu then formed his own outfit and strove to build a pressure group to highlight farmer issues in the Cauvery Delta. He launched himself on the national stage four months ago by targeting the Centre and staging an innovative agitation at Delhi demanding total debt waiver for farmers across the board. From squatting in loincloth to going Full Monty to cross-dressing and parading purported skulls of people who committed suicide due to farm distress, Ayyakannu showed his sense of political timing and kept the national media interested in his agitation.
After he wrapped up the Jantar Mantar protest in 41 days, and staged another one in Chennai’s Chepauk for a few days, Ayyakannu is back in Delhi, determined to begin Round Two of his eyeball-grabbing agitation. On his current list of demands is pension for farmers who have turned 60 and constitution of the Cauvery Management Board. His agitation comes at a time when the final hearing on the Cauvery Tribunal’s Award is underway before the Supreme Court.
On Day 1, he and his band of farmers were detained by the Delhi Police for trying to go to the PM’s house without prior permission. It appears that Ayyakannu likes being pampered by people in high places. That was how Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami persuaded him to pull the plug on his protests twice. He hopes Modi would do an encore, perhaps threatening to become a Shankersinh Vaghela if he doesn’t. It remains to be seen if Modi would oblige him this time around.