Former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking him to recall two cabinet ministers from their foreign tour. He said it was inappropriate for agriculture minister Pandurang Fundkar and food and civil supplies minister Girish Bapat to go on tour even as farmers were suffering owing to the agrarian crisis.
He said the ministers and their families were away on tour, despite a crisis in their own backyards. “I don’t know if they have taken official permission from you, but even in that case both of them should be called back immediately,” he said.
Chavan questioned why the ministers were on leave even as farmers in Vidarbha and Marathwada were struggling to get the minimum support price for their produce. Farmers are currently staging protests over the delayed procurement of tur dal.
Chavan also reminded Modi that the growth of pulses increased only after his appeal.
“Parliamentary tours are routine. I don’t mind the legislators going as delegates. But, they should not have gone in the hour of agrarian crisis,” Chavan told HT.
On May 5, HT had first carried a report stating that a 16-member delegation was touring Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.
The Congress leadership in the state is also upset with three of its legislators who went on tour without seeking permission. Deputy chairman of legislative council Manikrao Thakre, Congress group leader in the upper house Sharad Ranpise and MLC Sanjay Duty went on the 14-day trip.