Madhya Pradesh farmers not impressed, to step up stir

Term Chouhan’s fast a gimmick; to block national highways on June 16; demand dismissal of M.P. govt.

Updated - December 03, 2021 05:01 pm IST

Published - June 11, 2017 09:52 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan addressing farmers and party workers during his indefinite fast.

Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan addressing farmers and party workers during his indefinite fast.

Terming Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s fast (that ended on Sunday) as a “nautanki” (spectacle), an umbrella organisation of 62 farmers’ bodies are set to intensify their stir, with a blockade of national highways planned for June 16. They will be demanding the dismissal of Mr. Chouhan’s government for failing to address the grievances of farmers.

Failed to fulfil promises

Speaking to The Hindu , leader of the Rashtriya Bharatiya Sangh, Shiv Kumar Sharma aka Kakkaji, confirmed that at a meeting held at the Gandhi Peace Foundation in New Delhi on Saturday evening, 62 organisations drew up a plan to carry forward the agitation, currently raging in Madhya Pradesh. “We will be taking forward the agitation because the BJP under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has failed to fulfil its own promises, made in the manifesto of 2014, that it would implement the Swaminathan committee’s recommendations on providing returns of input cost plus 50% of that as the procurement amount to farmers. We also want farmers to be free of loans, not just a one-time waiver, but a serious change in agricultural policy that promises just returns to farmers, one which prevents them from being indebted,” he said.

‘Unable to get just prices’

“Farmers are forced to take loans because they are unable to get just prices for their crops,” he said.

He dismissed Mr. Chouhan’s fast as a gimmick. “Dussehra Maidan is a place where Bhopalis get together to burn the effigy of Ravan,” he said cryptically.

“The Chief Minister has been at the helm of affairs for 11 years and after not doing anything to structurally alter the situation of farmers, this is what he resorts to,” said Mr. Sharma.

Significantly, the national vice-president of BJP’s Kisan Morcha, Naresh Sirohi, is also part of this group of people. “We will continue the agitation and I further want to say that to avoid any allegations that the farmers’ bodies are indulging in violence, and to show the way protests are being suppressed we have asked our people to videograph them,” he said.

Mr. Sharma didn’t find any contradiction in agriculture in the State growing above the national average and the virulence of the protests.

“In fact this year we will have a bumper crop of wheat but it will not improve the situation of farmers because import duty on wheat had been waived earlier, or the holding capacity of private dealers is low and government matches up. In order to offload the crop, the farmers are forced to sell it at whatever price it can fetch,” he said.

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