Special Correspondent

Agreement between Raje, Leader of the Opposition

  • `We will not spare any effort to provide relief to the affected farmers'
  • Despite reconciliation, members of non-Congress Opposition stage a walk out

    JAIPUR: The four-day-long stalemate in the Rajasthan Assembly following Opposition protests over delay in announcement of a relief package for farmers, who suffered losses in the recent rain and hailstorms in the State, ended on Friday. An agreement was reached after talks between Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and Leader of the Opposition Ramnarain Choudhary in the presence of the Speaker, Sumitra Singh.

    "Our Government is farmers' government. We will not spare any effort to provide relief to the affected," Ms. Raje said addressing the House soon after the rapprochement. On the Speaker's request, the Congress leaders, led by Mr. Choudhary and former Chief Minister S.C. Mathur, escorted two party MLAs--Mangla Ram Godara and Shrigopal Baheti--who were on an indefinite fast inside the House, back to their seats.

    "It was an unprecedented calamity. We had to resort to some unpleasant steps in the House and fight for ensuring adequate relief," Mr. Choudhary said making his part of the explanation. "If the rules do not allow adequate compensation for the crop losses, amend them or make new rules," he said asserting that all farmers who suffered losses, irrespective of the crop they cultivated, should be compensated.

    Despite the reconciliation, members of the non-Congress Opposition, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Bahujan Samaj Party, who expressed their resentment over the "high-handed attitude" of the Chief Minister, staged a walk out. "Even after four days of protest the Government is not willing to listen," said Amra Ram of the CPI (M) before walking out along with Suresh Meena of the BSP. Ms Raje said the Government had so far spent Rs.33 crore on relief. An amount of Rs.13 crore was spent in the past three days alone, she informed.