Members of the All India Fair Price Shop and Kerosene Licence Holders’ Association will have a star protester in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s younger brother, Prahlad, when they agitate against the Centre at New Delhi’s Ram Leela Maidan on March 17.
Bring it on: Prime Minister Narendra Modi
The association has been demanding that fair price shop workers should be given the status of state employees. It wants the government to pay the salaries of at least two employees from each shop and also pay the shops’ power bills. It has also asked for LPG cylinders to be distributed through fair price establishments.
Prahlad, who is senior vice-president of the association’s national executive, and chief of the Gujarat unit, has been vocal against the successive Gujarat governments, led by his brother, and the Centre. He has moved court against Gujarat government directives and led several protests in the past. He also raised issues concerning the licensees at association’s conclave in Shirur near Pune in the last week of January. The Delhi event will be the associations’ final leg of the nation-wide protest, which will be held in various states it has chapters in, beginning February 10.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's younger brother Prahlad
When mid-day called him yesterday, Prahlad said, “I will not talk about the agitation or anything else. You may please speak with our national president Kaka (Pushparaj) Deshmukh.” The younger Modi is in Bengaluru for a visit, and is expected to be back in Ahmedabad before the agitation begins on February 10.
Deshmukh, on his part, said terming the agitation a Modi versus Modi clash was entirely wrong. “Prahladji is one of our senior leaders and he has been associated with the cause for many years. For us, our association and the issues are more important,” he said from Pune.
Insiders in the association said it would be interesting to see how the PM reacts to the issue this time. “When he was Gujarat CM, he did not take any interest in addressing our concerns. He may prevent us from going to Delhi by taking some initiative this time, because it’s a national issue,” said an office bearer, requesting anonymity.