NEW DELHI: The Congress on Wednesday created a storm in the Lok Sabha over the issue of paddy procurement in Chhattisgarh, staging a walkout on the issue. The party accused the government of discriminating against the elected state government.
Raising the issue in Zero Hour, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said Chhattisgarh is a "bowl" of rice and it has been maintaining its production of various varieties, even when the state is being "ignored" by the Centre, which purchases rice from across the country, but not from the region.
"The central government has been discriminating with Chhattisgarh. It purchased rice from each state across the country but did not purchase from Chhattisgarh," Chowdhury said.
Calling the Centre an "anti-farmer" government, the Congress leader sought a reply why such discrimination was being made with Chhattisgarh which he said has led to farmers' distress.
The state government has decided to fix the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of rice at Rs 2,500 per quintal, above the Centre's prescribed Rs 1,815 per quintal. The Centre has refused to either hike the MSP or allow the Food Corporation of India (FCI) to procure at the increased price.
BJP's Santosh Pandey, an MP from Rajnandgaon in Chhattisgarh, meanwhile, hit back at the Congress-led Chhattisgarh government, accusing it of cheating people in the state, saying it is only "trying to mislead" the people.
"Before the election, the Congress had promised prohibition in the state, but it did not do anything," he said.
Pandey also asked why Chhattisgarh government delayed 15 days in purchasing the paddy from Chhattisgarh farmers.
The Congress leader meanwhile continued speaking over the issue, seeking reply from the government, and later, the party walked out of the House.