Arjun Arya, 34, was first given a ticket by the Samajwadi Party on Saturday. Curiously, the young activist leader returned the ticket offered to him and moved to the Congress camp.
Commenting on the SP ticket drama, Arya said it was sheer lack of communication as he wasn’t taken into confidence before the tickets were announced. “I reckon in order to end misrule and injustice of CM Shivraj, we need strong leadership of Congress,” said Arya.
Asked whether he would be ready if Congress fields him against CM Shivraj, Arya said he was ready to contribute in any role the Congress would assign him, in order to help out farmers and throw out the BJP government.
Sources say that Arya has been summoned by the Congress top leadership in Bhopal on Oct 12, when he would be officially inducted into the party.
Given his youthful image, strong backing among farmers and tribals, Arya, many believe, is Congress’ best bet against CM Shivraj.
Arya, who graduated in Sanskrit from the University of Delhi, has been creating some buzz in last few months in Budni with his persistent agitations on farmers’ issues. He even went to jail last September during one of the protests.
A native of village Hamidganj in Nasrullaganj tehsil in Sehore, the young activist belongs to a family of farmers and has remained active in student politics at DU, contesting twice –2005 and 2006, in students union polls though without any success.
Arya aggressive participation in farmers’ struggles started in February this year when he led the protest of 25,000 hailstorm affected farmers.
Arya claims CM Shivraj had doubled the compensation for hailstorm damage from existing Rs 15,000 on their demand.
In May this year, Arya had taken out a 40-km Narmada Bachao Tiranga Padyatra accusing the MP government of destroying the river through illegal mining.
On August 9, Arya once again led farmers in a 140-km padyatra across Budni highlighting farmers’ issues.
On September 10, Arya again led thousands of farmers in a foot march in Budni and also sat on dharna demanding land rights for poor farmers, better insurance claims, MSP, quality education and healthcare.
According to him, Nasrullaganj mandi in Budni is the biggest agri mandi in MP but farmers are never offered MSP on their produce.
“If the farmers are subjected to such treatment in CM’s home town, what would be the state of affairs elsewhere,” he said.