The opposition Congress on Friday ended its unprecedented agitation inside the Madhya Pradesh assembly but said the stir was just the beginning of a campaign against the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government’s “anti-farmer attitude”.
34 Congress MLAs had launched an indefinite fast on Thursday, two days after they sat on dharna inside the house demanding a compensation package for farmers whose crops have been damaged in the recent rain and hailstorm.
AICC general secretary Digvijaya Singh, who announced the end of the fast on Friday evening, said party chief Sonia Gandhi has asked the state MLAs to end their protest in assembly and take the fight to the villages.
“We are not ending this dharna. Rather, this is the beginning of the second phase of our fight to provide relief to hapless farmers,” Singh said.
Singh offered lemon juice to the leader of the opposition Satyadev Katare and MLAs who pledged to reach out to villages to mount pressure on the government.
“The BJP government was insensitive to the problems of the farmers. Now, our MLAs will head for villages to ensure that the farmers get compensation for their damaged crop," Singh added.
Two Congress MLAs -- Umang Singhar and Madhu Bhagat – were taken ill earlier in the morning and had to be hospitalised.
The opposition party had launched the house agitation after a day-long special session of the assembly on March 24, accusing the government of doing precious little for the farmers.
Singh also alleged that rampant corruption was plaguing the survey going on to access the damage to the crops.
Lower rank officials of the revenue department, patwaris are asking for commission from farmers to survey their damage crops, he alleged.
Singh further said the state government has turned “worthless and autocratic” and that party MLAs will awaken it to ensure that farmers get relief and compensation.
The Congress demands include compensation for rain and hailstorm-hit farmers within a fortnight, waiver off their electricity dues and suspension of recovery of loans from them besides Rs 150 per quintal bonus for wheat.
(With PTI inputs)