A farmer's wife's suicide, another farmer's attempt to end his life, police lathicharge and farmers continuing agitation against land acquisition for a thermal power plant has made Katni a political hotbed.
The BJP and the Congress have locked horns over the development and JD (U) is trying to consolidate its position over the issue.
The impact of the farmers' agitation against land acquisition for Welspun Energy Madhya Pradesh Ltd reached Bhopal on Friday. Leader of the Opposition Ajay Singh, other Congress leaders and Janata Dal (U) leaders launched a fierce attack on the ruling party. On the ruling party's part industries minister Kailash Vijayvargiya took on the Congress in particular and blamed the political leaders for politicising the issue for their political gains.
In a hurriedly convened press conference in the evening, Vijayvargiya empathically claimed that the woman's suicide had nothing to do with the land acquisition process.
He said the woman happened to be the third wife of the man (Chhakka) and also she was suffering from tuberculosis.
He said the fact was out of 12 acre of land of the joint family only four acre land was acquired and the compensation given to them was on a par with the best relief and rehabilitation (R&R) package. The compensation was of about Rs. 18 lakh and it came to be known that there was some dispute in the family (over the compensation amount).
He said a sum of Rs. 5 lakh per acre was given to farmers in the area for irrigated land and Rs. 2.5 lakh per acre for non-irrigated land.
The Congress workers burnt an effigy of chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan near PCC office to protest the police lathicharge and the state government's 'atrocities on the farmers' which, the workers alleged, led to Suniya Bai's suicide in Katni district.
Leader Opposition in the state assembly Ajay Singh attacked the state government on Friday and announced here that the issue would be raised in the assembly's ensuing winter session.
PCC media in charge Manak Agarwal blamed the CM for acquiring famers land 'in collusion with industrialists'.
In a press conference in the state capital JD (U) state president Govind Yadav demanded a white paper on the entire land acquisition in the state during the BJP rule.
He also demanded cancellation of the land acquisition process in Katni, arrest of the officers who forced Sunita Bai to end her life and unconditional release of the JD(U) leaders and others who were arrested by police in Katni.
JD ((U) has convened its state conference in Bhopal on Saturday which will be addressed by the party national president Sharad Yadav among others. The latter had visited Bujbuja and Dokaria villages on November 9 and lodged his protest against the land acquisition.
Those arrested in Katni including former JD (U) MLA Saroj Bachchan Nayak were said to have refused to apply for their bail. The JD(U) workers staged a dharna at Katni district headquarters.
The farmers of Bujbuja and Dokaria resumed their 'chita satyagrah' from Friday demanding cancellation of the land acquisition.