NEW DELHI: Scale of farmers’ protest in Madhya Pradesh appears to have taken the BJP with surprise, while the NDA government at the Centre went into huddle on Wednesday.
"Madhya Pradesh could come under the grip of a violent agitation by farmers despite the state being run by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who has unmatchable credentials in agricultural growth", said the party leaders to attribute “criminal-political” motive to the turn of events.
After the Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi presided over a core group meeting, which was attended by senior colleagues, including Union Minister for Home Affairs Rajnath Singh, Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, Minister for Road and Surface Transport Nitin Gandakri. Sources said that senior ministers discussed the issue of farmers’ agitations in MP and Maharashtra. The BJP chief Amit Shah was also learnt to have spoken to the MP chief minister over phone.
Concerns in the government and the party appear to be more for the reason that the farmers’ agitation has come at a time when the NDA is in the midst of a campaign to drum up support for achievements of three years of the Modi government. Incidentally, MP along with Rajsthan and Chattisgarh will to the Assembly elections in the later parts of the next year.
“The MP government had already accepted most of the demands of farmers on June 4. Farmers in the state have never resorted to violence. There are reports that criminal gangs and anti-social elements got involved in the agitation with the support of local Congress leader. What we are witnessing in parts of the state is nothing but the criminal-political motive of the Congress getting exposed,” said BJP leader GVL Narsimha Rao.
With the Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi heading to Mandsaur on Thursday, a long drawn political slugfest over the status of farmers in the state seems to be on the card. Incidentally, officials in the Central government had been noting for a while that the farmers were not able to sell the crops of pulses at the Minimum Support Price (MSP), besides the bumper onion crop having led the cultivators to resort to distress sale.
But BJP leaders cannot agree that the situations of farmers are distressing. “MP has been registering 20 per cent plus agricultural growth, while the state has emerged as number two in wheat productions. The state has also been the best performer in spreading irrigation facilities. The state government had ensured farm loan at one per cent interest,” added Rao.