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Nitish offers fresh poll in Bihar, if BJP dittoes in UP; blames low MSP for farmers’ unrest

The Bihar CM said (now PM) Narendra Modi’s prepoll promise to fix MSP of farm produce at an additional 50% incentive to farmers on their input cost, would provide reasonable respite to agitated farmers.

india Updated: Jun 12, 2017 20:11 IST
Subhash Pathak
Subhash Pathak
Hindustan Times, Patna
Bihar CM,Nitish Kumar,Midterm poll
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar interacting with media persons in Patna on Monday. (Santosh/HT photo)

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, on Monday, offered to dissolve the state assembly and hold fresh election if the BJP was ready to do the same in the neighbouring state of Uttar Pradesh. where the BJP and its allies won 325 out of total 403 seats, just three months ago.

He blamed inadequate minimum support prices for farm produce and the union government’s failure to take corrective measures, as the main reason for the farmers’ unrest in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and some other states.

Obliquely referring to UP deputy chief minister KP Maurya’s call for mid-term polls in Bihar, at a function held here on Sunday, Kumar said he was ready for the challenge if the BJP was so convinced about its electoral resurrection in Bihar.

The BJP could win just 53 seats in the 243-member Bihar assembly, in the election held in November 2015, as against 178 seats won by the RJD-JD (U)-Congress ‘grand alliance’. The present Bihar assembly still has three and a half years of its term left.

Kumar said he was also ready for simultaneous Lok sabha by-elections in Bihar and UP, states in which the BJP holds a majority of seats.

Talking to media persons on sidelines of his weekly ‘Lok Samvad’ programme here, Kumar said waiver of loans would not help much inresolving the crises facing farming community. “Loan write-off may be a temporary and area specific solution, but it will not resolve the agrarian crisis,” he added.

He said the country had slipped into an agrarian crisis as the cost of farm production had escalated and farmers were not able to get a reasonable return on their produce, due to faulty policies of the Centre.

Recalling Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promise to fix MSP of farm produce with additional 50% incentive to farmers on their input cost, Kumar said a substantial hike in prices of agriculture produce could dole out reasonable respite to the enraged farmers.

Kumar said soil health card and crop insurance policy were not benefitting the farmers. Complicating the woes of agriculturists was the government’s bid to encourage genetically modified seeds being marketed by multinational companies, he added.

“The condition of farmers has worsened over the past few years. Besides economic deprivation, they are unable to provide quality education to their children, owing to decreasing farm income. This is why, communities like Jat, Patidar and Maratha, who are primarily into agriculture, are demanding reservation,” said the CM.

Kumar said BJP chief Amit Shah’s ‘chatur bania’ remark on Mahatma Gandhi was not an issue to take note of. “Comments on the father of the nation reflect the mind-set of the people. Our government is committed to take Gandhi’s ideology to the people by celebrating the centenary year of his Champaran Satyagraha,” he said.

Kumar said the whole idea about celebrating the occasion was to expose the people to Gandhian philosophy, which, if adopted even by 10-15% people, could change the whole society, riddled with violence, distrust and intolerance.

First Published: Jun 12, 2017 20:11 IST