523670_234883466612284_132430276857604_344596_1150626399_nBharatiya Janata Party today organised a mahasammelan of more than 3000 weavers from different parts of the country giving a voice to this second largest occupational community of the country, but one of the most under privileged section of the society. The event Bunkar Samar Shankhnad, organised by the Weavers & Artisans’cell of BJP was inaugurated here at Talkatora stadium, New Delhi by the Party President Shri Nitin Gadkari in the presence of many senior leaders, Members of Parliament, social leaders and the weavers who reached from states like UP, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Wes Bengal, Assam, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, North east etc.


This important event was organised as part of various pro-active initiatives the party has taken upon realising the importance of this sector – not only in terms of the sheer numbers of people involved and the size of the handloom economy but also the urgency of confronting various issues faced by this section including the suicides of weavers due to poverty.


Inaugurating the programme, Shri Nitin Gadkari once again highlighted the point that BJP is the only party which continues its lineage of a pro-poor attitude and is committed towards the poor and weaker sections of the society like the weavers. Announcing that if the party comes to power its government will form a separate ministry for handloom and handicrafts, the BJP National President also said that the government will introduce efficient policies towards the development of the weaker sections by employing modern technologies and innovation, but keeping the track of Swadeshi. By commenting on the huge success of the programme, Shri Nitin Gadkari said that the party will focus on all such weaker sections of the community including farmes, fishermen, artisans, weavers, metal workers etc. The party and its governments follow the line of Swadeshi – the economic thought endorsed by Gandhiji and Deen Dayal Upadhyay ji – ‘maximum production through the involvement of maximum people’. But the Congress governments right from that of Shri Jawahar Lal Nehru has tried to follow a path of only getting maximum production, but no involvement of the maximum population. BJP is against this anti-people line and will try to achieve its principle of Antyodaya, reaching the last person in the line. Shri Gadkari also mentioned that BJP is the only pro-poor party run by ordinary karyakartas, while other leading parties are family run businesses.


The BJP President also told that heand the party will try to demolish the current situation of caste, religion, sex based politics and develop an all inclusive political approach which doesnot show any kind of untouchability to any caste, community of religion. The good example of this principle of the party is the participation of a good number of Muslim weavers in the mahasammelan at Talkatora stadium. The condition of the country is very worse. The economic system is collapsing. The GDP which was growing to 9% during the NDA rule is declining to 5.5%. Suicides of farmers, weavers etc are increasing. Investors are going abroad. The only reason for this dangerous situation is the policies of the Congress government and the solution is a BJP led government. The Party hopes to make a change in this situation by coming back to power at Centre by raising a 10% vote share which belongs to the poor and weaker sections.


Shri P Muralidhar Rao, BJP National Secretary and in-charge of various cells for weaker sections like weavers, fishermen, traders, artisans etc. Pointed out that the policies of the Congress government is worse that of British during the pre-independence period when they used to cut the fingers of the weavers to promote foreign textiles. The weavers who once wove for the whole world are now doing menial jobs in metro cities. Shri Rao who did a three day hunger strike recently against suicides of weavers in Andhra Pradesh, highlighted the urgency of addressing the issue to stem suicides.


The National Organising Secretary, Shri Ramlal said that this issue should be addressed through organisational work and collective efforts of weavers. The organisation will work across all states, different communities in identifying all issues at grassroot levels and then take the necessary measures to counter them at all levels.


India is currently the world’s largest producer of handlooms, turning out more than 5 billion metres of fabric in 2005. The sheer size of this sector is evident from the fact that there are nearly two-and-a-half million handlooms in India (2,377,331 to be precise, as per the Handloom Census, 2010). This accounts for 23 per cent of the total textile production in India. The major handloom weaving states in India are West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Assam and Manipur. Some 12.5 million people are dependent on handloom weaving for their livelihood.


UPA Governments or Congress governments in the states have neglected this sector for years and have pushed it towards decimation. The condition of weavers, during the rule of Congress led UPA, has deteriorated sharply all across the country, but nowhere more so than in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Suicides by weavers have reached epidemic proportions. According to state government figures, 700 weavers committed suicide in Andhra Pradesh in recent times (the actual figure is around 2,000). There are similar reports from other parts of the country like Tamil Nadu, UP etc.


The party has already initiated many important steps to address the issues associated with the weaving community. The 3 day hunger strike by BJP National Secretary P Muralidhar Rao in Hyderabad in December 2011 was among them. The party also has conducted hundreds of cluster meetings, several leaders have visited various clusters all over the country, prepared extensive documentation, undertaken public mobilization and mass contact programmes through local office bearers. The Weavers and Artisan’s cell plays an important role in this.


A document on the current plight of the weavers, made after visits of an eminent fact finding team to weaver clusters was released during the programme. Apart from this, a Delhi charter of demands for the upliftment of the weaver communities across the country was announced. An exhibition depicting the past glory of Indian weavers, the diversity and uniqueness of Indian handloom products, the current plight of handloom weavers and the policy suggestions of the Party on this issue was open from the morning at the programme venue.