BHOPAL: The Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan on Saturday launched an indefinite fast at the Dussehra Maidan in Bhopal’s BHEL campus with an appeal for peace and met farmer leaders, but failed to reach a compromise, while the opposition Congress dismissed it as mere “drama”.
Representatives of two premier farmers’ outfits--including the Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangh (RKMS) and the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU)--met with the CM in the makeshift cottage behind the upwaas (fast) venue on Saturday.
The office bearers of both outfits maintained that talks have started in a positive direction, though a concrete solution could not be reached.
We have decided to allow the supply of vegetables, milks and other essentials to various markets in the state, the RKMS spokesperson Sunil Gaur and BKU spokesperson RK Patel told the New Indian Express.
The dialogue is also believed to have failed to result in consensus on waiver of farm loans which has been the prominent demand of all agitating farmers. “The CM has told us that waiver of loans cannot be decided alone by state government,” said RKMS spokesperson Sunil Gaur, adding, that with CM on fast, his organisation’s office bearers to have started fast outside the same venue.
The BKU spokesperson RK Patel, while expressing satisfaction over talks with the CM, blamed the wrong policies of Narendra Modi government at the centre instead for farmers’ plight. “Can the Modi government tell us why the recommendations of Swaminathan Committee are yet not implemented,” he questioned.
While the CM met with farmers at the venue throughout the day, BJP national general secretary and Mhow (Indore) MLA Kailash Vijayvargiya claimed to have met over 2,000 farmers in two days in Indore, including Saturday. “The violent movement is not being staged by farmers of MP. Our farmers can never pelt stones on buses carrying children and women, it’s the handiwork of anti-social elements as the violence has been sponsored by the Opposition Congress,” said Vijayvargiya.
Meanwhile, in a dramatic development in the evening, the kin of four of the five farmers killed in police firing on June 6 in Mandsaur district, met the CM at the venue of fast along with former BJP MLA Radheyshyam Patidar. “The kin of the deceased farmers have urged the CM to end his fast and demanded stern action against those found guilty for firing on their loved ones,” said state BJP president Nandkumar Singh Chauhan.
The chief minister, who addressed the gathering twice in the day, reiterated that his fast was aimed at establishing peace in the state. “I’ve met with representatives of 15 farmers’ outfits and over 250 other farmers from across the state and carefully listened to their concerns. The government is concerned about their concerns and we’ll work over it. I’ll run the government from this venue only and break my fast only after violence ends and peace returns to the state. I’ll also review the developments in the state from here only,” said the CM.
He added that his government was committed to making agriculture a profit making business in the state.
The leader of opposition in State Assembly, Ajay Singh, meanwhile, mocked at the CM’s fast and instead asked him to go to Mandsaur to meet the families of deceased farmers.
Around 48 Congress leaders and workers, meanwhile, were arrested and later released by police for protesting the CM’s politics of fast around three km from the venue of the fast.
Meanwhile, no untoward incident was reported from anywhere in the state on Saturday, excepting the arrest of state level AAP leaders in Jabalpur, while trying to stage a protest rally and the arrest of a Congress MLA in Rajgarh district, also for same reasons.
In violence-hit Mandsaur district, curfew was relaxed in the two police station areas from 8 am to 8 pm, however, nothing untoward was reported.