While the BJP has been braving the Tamil Nadu government’s ban to conduct its Vetrivel Yatra, the Congress is preparing for its own state-wide plough rally to mobilise farmers against the recent farm acts.
The party claims to have already collected 16 lakh signatures from TN farmers against the laws and plans to begin its rally on November 22 with a state-conference in Coimbatore. The million-dollar question is whether the state government, which has clamped down on its ally’s processions, will permit the opposition party to conduct its rallies.
The Congress emerged from a long slumber following the passage of the farm laws and has been conducting rallies across the country against the farm laws. The Tamil Nadu Congress Committee has so far conducted two state-level farmers’ conferences, commenced its signature drive on October 27, and staged demonstrations at 3,000 places in the state on October 31.
GK Murali, the state general secretary of the farmers wing said that 72 observers were appointed for each Congress district unit to monitor the campaign. The observers were in turn monitored by two senior leaders. “All the signatures were collected from farmers at their farmlands. We explained to them the adverse impact the farm laws will have and they voluntarily put their signature,” he said.
According to TNCC president KS Alagiri the party has collected more than 16 lakh signatures from the farmers across Tamil Nadu. “The signatures will finally be handed over to the President of India to alert him about the gravity of the situation,” he said.
In the next phase of the campaign, the party will conduct its third state-level conference against the farm laws in Coimbatore on November 22. “A plough rally will be held that evening. On November 28, similar rallies will be conducted in an assembly constituency in every Congress district unit,” he said.
While Alagiri will participate in the rally in Kallakurichi, former union ministers KV Thangkabalu, EVKS Elangovan and Su Thirunavukkarasar will take part in rallies in Salem, Erode and Tirichy respectively.
“Similar rallies will be conducted in the remaining assembly constituencies by the end of November,” he said. Alagiri had previously dismissed the BJP’s Vel Yatra as “divisive” and claimed the Congress rallies were not so.