Govt faces Oppn fire, Pawar watches from a distance | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Govt faces Oppn fire, Pawar watches from a distance

Lok Sabha MPs led by Sharad Yadav on Monday demanded the government takes immediate steps on a war-footing to address problems faced by farmers due to patchy policies, slow procurement in face of a bumper crop and a lack of storage space.

delhi Updated: May 01, 2012 00:09 IST
HT Correspondent

Lok Sabha MPs led by Sharad Yadav on Monday demanded the government takes immediate steps on a war-footing to address problems faced by farmers due to patchy policies, slow procurement in face of a bumper crop and a lack of storage space.

Yadav raised the plight of farmers during Zero Hour in the Lok Sabha but the lone voice soon grew into a chorus with many NDA members associating with the issue.

BJP leader Sushma Swaraj finally led the Opposition's walkout to protest the government's silence.

She meant finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, who was still wrapping up his papers to step out when Yadav had started speaking.

Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar had entered the House around the same time but did not walk up to his seat, next to Mukherjee in the front row.

Instead, the agriculture minister — who has made no secret of his differences with the government’s policies on export bans and procurement of grains — quietly took a seat on the second-last row, leaving Mukherjee to be the government's face.

“Pranab babu, there is no bigger challenge (facing the government),” Sharad Yadav said, demanding that the government open a “war room” in Delhi to deal with the crisis at hand prompted by a bumper crop.

The JD-U leader warned that the “government could fall” if the woes of the farmers were ignored.

Several BJP members were on their feet demanding a reply from the government on the issue.

Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj lamented that instead of making a statement, Mukherjee left when some other members were raising the issue. MPs from the Left also joined them to walk out.

Pawar — who had this month written to PM Manmohan Singh about the UPA’s “retrograde steps” that made the farmer subsidise the rich, accused food minister KV Thomas and textile minister Anand Sharma, of “ambivalent” policies that hurt farmers — also left soon after. Just before the walk out, BJP leader Naranbhai Kachhadia said cotton farmers were facing hardships as there were no buyers.