Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palanisami met farmers protesting in Delhi on Sunday morning. His visit comes ahead of his meeting scheduled with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to discuss the drought in Tamil Nadu.
Several political leaders from AIADMK, DMK, MDMK and even Congress' Rahul Gandhi have met the farmers who have been protesting for over a month now. This is however, the first time the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister is meeting them in the capital. Over 150 farmers had arrived from the state's delta region to protest against the Centre's alleged apathy towards farmers, in the wake of a severe drought. They have been demanding river interlinking, pension of Rs. 5000 for farmers above the age of 60 and waiver of loans by banks and finance companies.
The Chief Minister sat amidst the agitators and said that he will take their memorandum that contains demands to the Prime Minister. In addition to this, he said, "We are already in the process of fulfilling these demands. I urge these protesters to stop their hunger strike and return to Tamil Nadu. I will talk to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the loan waiver as well."
Senior AIADMK leader Thambidurai further claimed that the state will take the fight forward and requested the farmers to stop their protests.
When asked if these assurances were satisfactory, the farmers reiterated their demand to meet the Prime Minister. "The Chief Minister has promised to take us to meet the Prime Minister. First, let that happen," said Iyyakannu, the Tamil Nadu chief of the Desiya Thenidhiya Nathigal Inaippu Vivasayigal Sangam. He further claimed, "This is not a fight against the state government. This is a fight against the Centre. The Chief Minister must help us in this fight."
The Chief Minister's visit comes a day after, farmers drank urine to get the Centre’s attention towards the drought situation in Tamil Nadu and make the Prime Minister accept their demands.