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Updated: February 14, 2011 00:08 IST

Shivraj calls off fast after Manmohan's assurance

Mahim Pratap Singh
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Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. File photo
The Hindu Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. File photo

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan called off his “indefinite” fast minutes after beginning it here on Sunday.

The “Savinay Agrah Upwas” ended following an assurance from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during a telephonic conversation at Raj Bhavan in the presence of Governor Rameshwar Thakur.

Mr. Chouhan had announced the fast to draw the attention of the Centre to important issues concerning Madhya Pradesh which he alleged it was ignoring. The release of relief package for frost-hit farmers was a sore point.

In his public address at the Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited Dussehra grounds, Mr. Chouhan said that he was assured by the Prime Minister that all the issues would be resolved within a week through an inter-departmental meeting to be held under Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

He also said that he had been invited to New Delhi for the meeting on February 20.

The Chief Minister said he had also consulted the central leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party before ending the fast.

Addressing the people, the Chief Minister said that the decision for the sit-in was taken against the Centre's ‘continued discrimination' against the State. He said that he had been appealing to the Prime Minister and Union Ministers since 2006.

Opposition parties, including the Congress and the Janata Dal (United), earlier condemned Mr. Chouhan's move calling it unconstitutional.

“The condition of farmers in the State has consistently deteriorated under Mr. Chouhan's government, be it due to fake-seed rackets or unfair compensation to farmers whose crops have been damaged due to frost. Under such circumstances, he is only becoming a problem himself instead of addressing the problems concerning the State,” State Congress president Suresh Pachauri told journalists.

“The Chief Minister's sit-in is in violation of Articles 166 and 167 of the Constitution of India. Such gimmicks by the highest elected representative in the State only weaken people's faith in democracy,” JD(U) State president Govind Yadav told The Hindu.



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