BHOPAL: A marathon debate on the June 6 deaths of five farmers in police firing in Mandsaur district, increasing farmer suicides and recent farmer unrest, which continued for six hours in Madhya Pradesh Assembly on Tuesday, remained inconclusive at the end of the evening.
The debate, which continued till 8.15 pm on the second day of the 10-day long monsoon session, was the outcome of an adjournment motion brought in by the Congress headed by leader of opposition Ajay Singh ‘Rahul.’
The debate saw the participation of at least nine Congress MLAs including Sunderlal Tiwari, Jeetu Patwari, Mukesh Nayak, Ramniwas Rawat, Dr Govind Singh, Shailendra Patel, HS Dang, MS Kalukheda and Jaivardhan Singh.
The Congress MLAs tried to corner the BJP state government, particularly targeting the CM and home minister Bhupendra Singh.
The Opposition party legislators asked why the farmers’ unrest took place in the state between June 1 and June 10, particularly when CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan always harped on making agriculture a profit making venture.
The Congress chief whip Ramniwas Rawat demanded that a MP Assembly panel be constituted to probe the rising number of suicides by farmers and a commission be formed by the state government to focus on studying issues related to fetching rightful income to farmers. He also demanded that the state government announce minimum support price (MSP) for every agricultural and horticulture crop.
The Opposition party legislator from Rau (Indore) Jeetu Patwari took a dig at the CM and home minister, questioning why they didn’t quit from their posts over the Mandsaur farmers’ deaths, farmer suicides and failure to contain the agitation in time. “When the SP and collector of Mandsaur can be removed and suspended over firing on the farmers on June 6, why did the CM and home minister not quit from their posts taking moral responsibility for failing to contain the farmer unrest across the state?” asked Patiwari.
The ruling BJP legislators, including Yashpal Singh Sisodiya, Kailash Chawla and Rameshwar Sharma, besides MP ministers Vishwas Sarang, Gopal Bhargava and Gourishankar Bisen, alleged the role of Congress leaders, including Jeetu Patwari, in the violence that gripped the Malwa-Nimar region during the farmers’ unrest.
The minister of state for cooperatives Vishwas Sarang questioned why the same Congress MLAs who were raising hue and cry over the deaths of farmers were silent in January 1998 (during the Congress government in state) when 18 farmers were killed in police firing in Multai (Betul).
The agriculture minister Gaurishankar Bisen assured the House that the land of not even a single farmer would be allowed to be confiscated or auctioned over non-payment of loans.
The debate, which saw noisy scenes between the treasury and Opposition benches, remained inconclusive till 8.15 pm, when the assembly Speaker Dr Sitasaran Sharma decided to resume the debate on Wednesday. The leader of Opposition Ajay Singh ‘Rahul’ and chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan will speak in the debate on Wednesday.
Five were killed in police firing on an agitated mob of farmers in Mandsaur district on June 6, while another farmer died allegedly due to police torture a day later in the same district. While the kin of each of the six deceased farmers have been sanctioned a compensation of Rs 1 crore along with a government job, the state government has also ordered a judicial probe into the matter.
Around 50 farmers have committed suicide since June 8 in the state over varied reasons, including debt burden.