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Adityanath reaches out to farmers, announces hike in cane prices

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. File   | Photo Credit: AP

In a bid to woo disgruntled farmers in western Uttar Pradesh ahead of the 2022 Assembly polls, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Sunday announced a hike in cane prices for farmers and stated that the move would lead to a rise in the income of the agrarian community by around 8%. The BJP leader used the double plank of income and security to appeal to the farmers, especially those in western parts of the State where some agrarian outfits have been staging protests against the government’s three new farm laws for the past few months.

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Muzaffarnagar violence

Linking the law and order situation in the State to the interests of farmers, Mr. Adityanath also recalled the communal violence in Muzaffarnagar in 2013 and stressed that the “sons of farmers” had died then.

Mr. Adityanath accused the previous Samajwadi Party government, which was in power from 2012 to 2017, of ‘honouring rioters’ as he claimed that not a single riot had taken place in Uttar Pradesh since the BJP came to power.

Addressing a Kisan Sammelan, Mr. Adityanath said his government had increased the rates of usual variety sugar cane from ₹315 per quintal to ₹340 while the price (State advisory price) for the early variety had been increased from ₹325 per quintal to ₹350.

This would “bring a change” in the lives of over 45 lakh farmers and lead to an addition to their income by 8%, said Mr. Adityanath.

Farmers in parts of western Uttar Pradesh have been staging protests against the three new farm laws introduced by the Centre for the past few months. This has threatened to upset the BJP’s caste calculus and hopes of consolidating the non-Yadav OBC votes as the Jats, a largely agrarian community, have been at the forefront of the agitation.

Since the 2014 Lok Sabha election, months after deadly riots hit Muzaffarnagar and adjoining areas and politically ruptured its social fabric, the BJP has benefited from the support of the Jats and other Hindu communities, helping it sweep the region in both Assembly and Lok Sabha polls despite the coming together of the Opposition parties.

Referring to the 2013 riots, Mr. Adityanath said, “If anyone died in the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots it was the farmer. Those who lost their lives were sons and children of farmers. But then the government was honouring the rioters.”

“There cannot be riots under the BJP government because the rioters know that if they riot then their seven generations will have to repay the damages but even then they will not be able to compensate for it,” said the Chief Minister.

Withdrawal of cases

Mr. Adityanath also told farmers that his government had initiated steps to withdraw cases lodged against them for burning stubble.

Claiming that buffalos and cows would get easily stolen from dairies and dairy farmers under the previous government, he said now the farmer was safe, and so were his buffalo cart and motor used in farming.

Though Mr. Adityanath did not spell it out, by referring to stealing of cows and buffaloes he tried to hint at the threat of illegal slaughter of animals like the cow, which is held sacred by Hindus and also protected by a stringent law. The issue is often a matter of communal tension across the State.

“Now, illegal slaughter houses have been shut in the State. Nobody can engage in such type of behaviour with farmers in the State,” he said.

SP’s reaction

Samajwadi Party leader and professor in Lucknow University, Sudhir Panwar, said the hike of ₹25 per quintal of sugarcane announced by the Uttar Pradesh government was disproportionate to increase in input cost on account of diesel, power, labour, insecticide and pesticides.

“The declaration of higher sugarcane prices by the Haryana and Punjab governments despite providing low electricity tariff indicates that the Uttar Pradesh government is far behind in its claim of being number one in farmer welfare,” Mr. Panwar said.

Jayant Chaudhary, RLD president, said the increase in the SAP did not even cover the rise in costs. He said Mr. Adityanath had invested on “fake advertisements” but had proved to be “useless” on the issue of farmers.

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Printable version | Oct 17, 2021 1:47:38 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/uttar-pradesh-hikes-sugarcane-purchase-price-by-25-per-quintal/article36680012.ece

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