Congress ups the ante against BJP as Scindia visits families of dead farmers | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Congress ups the ante against BJP as Scindia visits families of dead farmers

After meeting a family in Gawardia village, Scindia alleged that local BJP leaders in connivance with corrupt officials were responsible for the farmer’s death.

india Updated: Jul 13, 2017 18:41 IST
Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia paying respect to farmers who committed suicide at a condolence meet in Sehore, on July 13, 2017.
Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia paying respect to farmers who committed suicide at a condolence meet in Sehore, on July 13, 2017.(Mujeeb Faruqui/HT Photo)

Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia on Thursday took the issue of farmers’ suicide in Madhya Pradesh to the doorsteps of chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan as he visited his constituency of Budhni in Sehore district to meet the families of debt-ridden agriculturists, who committed suicide recently, and promised to fight for them.

Scindia has upped the political tempo in the state since the Mandsaur shooting by taking part in a series of farmers’ meet all over the state. On Thursday, he put further pressure on the already embattled Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state over the killing of six farmers during clashes with police in Mandsaur on June 6.

He also visited the adjoining Raisen district.

“I will visit all the farmers’ families who have committed suicide in this area and will fight for the cause of the farmers in the centre, till they get justice,” Scindia, who was accompanied by former state Congress president Suresh Pachauri, said.

After meeting the family of Shatrunjay Meena in Gawardia village, Scindia alleged that local BJP leaders in connivance with corrupt officials were responsible for the farmer’s death. “If the government has even an iota of shame they will register an FIR in this case,” he said.

Jyotiraditya Scindia consoling the family members of Shatrunjay Meena at village Gawardia, Budhni constituency near Bhopal, on July 13, 2017. (Mujeeb Faruqui/HT Photo)

Meena’s family members said he had mentioned the name of a local BJP leader, who was preventing him from getting his land demarcated, compelling him to commit suicide.

Former Congress MLA from Budhni, Rajkumar Patel, said four farmers have committed suicide in the chief minister’s constituency in the recent past but he has not bothered to visit even one family and neither has any official.

The state has seen nearly 60 farmers’ suicides since June 6 and most of them were due to the debt burden. About one-tenth of the farmer suicides in the past 16 years in Madhya Pradesh took place in a year, between February 2016 and 2017, telling a distressing story about farm despair in the state where agriculture growth had clocked 20% since 2014-15.

The state government’s zero percent interest loan benefitted some farmers but many were not able to claim the benefits again as they were not able to repay the short-term loan. This, local government officials say, pushed farmers to local moneylenders and pushing them into a vicious cycle, a reason they have been demanding a loan waiver.

Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia paying respect to farmers who committed suicide at a condolence meet in Sehore, on July 13, 2017. (Mujeeb Faruqui/HT Photo)

Scindia promised the farmers at a condolence meeting at Naktara village he would continue to fight for the cause of farmers as it was not only his ‘duty’ but also his ‘dharma’.

He said farmers were distressed due to loan burden and un-remunerative price of their produce. Scindia said farmers were the backbone of the state’s economy and they had the first right to the coffers of the state during their time of distress.

“The state government has lost its sensitivity and has become a government where only corruption and money talks. There is massive indebtedness among farmers but the chief minister is saying in meetings that loan waiver is not an issue. If only Chouhan had visited his own constituency, he would have known the truth,” Scindia said.

Scindia visited the families of five farmers, who killed themselves, and took part in two condolence meets during the course of eight hours as he covered over 500 km.

Congress, which suffered humiliating defeats in the last few elections, on Monday released a 12-point charter of demands, including loan waiver, a remunerative price for farm produce and GST-free farm inputs.

It also indicated that farmers’ cause would be one of the main planks of the party in the next state assembly elections.