Hundreds of farmers from Vidarbha and Marathwada are expected to participate in the agitation, which will be led by Sanghatana founder Sharad Joshi. This decision was taken at a state executive meeting of the Sanghatana here on Thursday in presence of Joshi.  State President Gunwant Hangargekar said farmers all over the state were reeling under crisis as all major crops including cotton, soyabean and paddy besides orange and grapes were ruined due to insufficient rains.

"The farmers have suffered a double blow. While bad weather conditions have led to heavy crop losses, the market rates for all crops including sugarcane and onion are too low to give any return on investment to the growers," the farm leader said.

The farm body’s regional leader and ex-MLA Wamanrao Chatap said the sit-in will begin around afternoon. "The farmers are in such a distress that suicides are on a rise again. They are in no position to repay crop loans or to settle electricity bills. So our main demand will be complete waiver of farm loans and power bills," said Chatap.

He said the BJP has now grabbed power at the Centre as well as the state and hence should fulfill the election promises of higher rates for crops. "Narendra Modi had stressed during the poll campaign that farmers would be paid rates to cover input costs plus 50 percent of the cost as per the M S Swaminathan Commission recommendations. Modi should not forget his electoral promises," he said.

He said the Sanghatana was demanding minimum support price of Rs 6,000 per quintal for cotton, Rs 5000 for soyabean and Rs 3000 for paddy. Currently, the MSPs for these three crops are in the range of Rs 4000, Rs 2500 and Rs 1300 respectively.

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