With the cotton farmers' agitation turning violent across the state, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan has decided to take a delegation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to seek his intervention soon.
The farmers are demanding a higher minimum support price (MSP) of at least Rs6,000 per quintal.
Chavan's decision comes in the backdrop of all political parties including ally Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) backing the agitation and gunning for the Congress in the wake of the upcoming elections. On Tuesday, violent agitations continued, especially in Vidarbha.
Chavan also decided to take the deputy chief minister and NCP leader Ajit Pawar to meet the PM.
To neutralise the NCP effect, Chavan and state Congress chief Manikrao Thakre held a meeting with Congress ministers and legislators from Vidarbha on Tuesday. Thakre expected the Centre to give a patient hearing to farmers' woes.
The Congress wants MSP to be in the range of Rs 4,500-5,000 per quintal (current MSP Rs 3,300), said a senior
minister who attended the meeting.
A demand to rationalise the cotton export policy will also be made because last year's fluctuating policy caused heavy losses to farmers.
Pawar said, "The CM i and I decided that we should take a delegation to Delhi to negotiate better rates.''
He pointed out that farmers in Vidarbha are bound to feel that protests can help them give a better deal given that the recent agitation of sugarcane farmers resulted in a hike in the cane rates.
Pawar's support to the cotton farmers agitation is being read by many in political circles as a checkmate to Congress, which had tacitly supported the sugarcane farmers agitation in his home turf.
NCP has also been on a mission to improve its standing in Vidarbha ahead of the local polls.