BJP plans 'yatra' to villages

COIMBATORE, SEPT. 2. The Bharatiya Janata Party has planned a four-month state-wide `yatra' from October this year to reach the masses ahead of the Assembly elections in 2001.

Talking to presspersons here today after the executive meeting of the party's farmers' wing, the state secretary of the party, Mr. Thirumalaiswamy said the party would hear the grievances of the rural masses, especially on the functioning of the various temples in the villages.

Stating that the yatra ``could be termed a pre-election exercise'', he said the leaders and activists taking part in the yatra would assess the problems faced by people in villages `that have been ignored'.

Admitting that temples were being managed better in the DMK regime, he said his party wanted temples to be run by religious groups and not by the Government.

On caste outfits forming part of political fronts, he said the rise of casteist organisations had turned out to be `the curse of Tamil Nadu just as for Bihar'. It was upto the nationalist and the Dravidian parties to prevent polarisation on caste lines.

On the resolutions adopted at the farmers' wing meeting today, he said the party had thanked the Centre for fixing a target of one lakh tonnes of onions for export.

The meeting wanted the State Government to take steps for payment of arrears to sugarcane farmers, due from various sugar units. With the units defaulting on payment of arrears, the farmers had been put to great hardship. Most of them had taken loans for cane production and now they were not able to pay the principal amount, the interest and the penal interest. The Government should order waiver of interest and penal interest and arrange for payment of arrears, it said.

The Rs. 1,000 a tonne State Advised Price should also be paid on the 8.5 per cent recovery and not just for 10 per cent recovery as announced by the Government, the meeting said.

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