MP government extended the stay of police force deployed on the state assembly premises to tackle any eventuality as the opposition Congress intensified its agitation for compensation to farmers and refused to leave the house after it was adjourned sine die.
Congress MLAs are protesting what they said was the state government’s apathetic attitude towards farmers whose crops were damaged by recent rain and hailstorm in several parts of the state.
The special session of the assembly was convened for a day to discuss a few bills and also to pass a second supplementary budget of Rs 10,657 crores. To take the sting out of the Opposition’s attack on the government on the farmers’ issue, the ruling party included a discussion on the same in the business list of the House.
However, Congress MLAs led by leader of Opposition Satyadev Katare expressed dissatisfaction over chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s reply and demanded extension of the session to three days to hold discuss the issue.
However, after the house was adjourned after an extended session which went beyond the stipulated closing time of 5 pm, Congress MLAs refused to leave the house creating an unprecedented situation at the assembly secretariat.
They said since the state government didn’t concede to their demands for providing immediate relief to farmers they had no other option left but to stage a sit-in demonstration. Their demands included adequate compensation to farmers, waiver of all loans and suspension of other recoveries.
Media persons were asked to leave the assembly premises and all the gates were closed. Nobody was allowed to get in from outside.
AICC general secretary Digvijaya Singh -- who was barred from holding press conference in the assembly during the day, came out of the assembly premises in the evening and accused the ruling party of displaying an “authoritarian” attitude.
Talking to HT, Katare said that Congress members would remain in the House till their demands are met.
“We had asked the speaker and CM to have a serious debate on farmers’ issue but they did not allot us appropriate time and also didn’t consider our demands,” said Katare.
Earlier, talking to the media, Chouhan said that his government was looking at different options to compensate farmers against non-payment of bonus to them on paddy and wheat procurement.
The state government was giving Rs 150 per quintal to farmers on purchase of wheat and paddy as bonus in addition to the procurement price. The same had to be discontinued due to the Centre's reservation on payment of bonus to farmers.
On damage to crops caused by unexpected rains and hailstorm CM said about 4 lakh farmers were affected in 3407 villages of 31 districts of the state. The survey of damaged crops would be completed by March 31.