In a major embarrassment for the Samajwadi Party, even as its national president Mulayam Singh Yadav is trying to woo farmers of UP for the parliamentary elections, the cane farmers agitated before him demanding payment of cane dues for the past and current cane crushing seasons.
Yadav was addressing an Indian Farmer’s Representative Conference in Lucknow Saturday, claiming that his party alone works for the benefit of the farmers, when chairmen and farmers of various district cane committees approached him with grievances of non-payment of dues.
However, aggrieved at not getting an opportunity to voice their demands before the former CM, the farmers shouted their demands even as Yadav left the venue.
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The demands of cane farmers include payment of dues for not only the previous year, but also the current crushing season; the non- payment of cane society commission, and the closure of sugar mills.
“Around Rs 125 crore of the current season and Rs 59 crore from the last crushing season is not paid to the cane farmers,” said Rishipal Bhati, chairman of Khatauli Cane Development Committee, Muzaffarnagar.
Earlier, the conference turned into a political event, with farmer representatives from various states like Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Bihar using the dais to advocate for Yadav to be the next prime minister of the country.
Targeting the BJP for communal politics and raising the Ram Temple issue, Yadav, in his address, said the BJP had accumulated a lot of donations and funds in the name of constructing the Ram Temple and the party should come forth and tell the public what happened to those funds. “If I would not have stood up before the (Babri) mosque (to protect it), the country would have faced a major problem and Muslims would have lost faith (in the system),” said Yadav, recounting his action against attempted Babri mosque demolition while he was the UP CM.
“I had offered the VHP a land next to the disputed site to construct a temple there but they did not accept it,” said Yadav, adding it was never their intention to construct a temple.
Targeting its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, Yadav said Modi questioned the development in UP, but the kind of development UP has seen, no other state has witnessed in the country.
The proposal by the farmers included the demand for payment of cane dues to the farmers of UP; running the closed sugar mills of the state; giving fifty per cent subsidy on farmer equipment and diesel in order to promote best farming technology amongst the farmers; and bringing down the agriculture loan’s interest from four per cent to three per cent, amongst others, said Dr Arvind Kumar Singh, General Secretary, Uttar Pradesh Cane Development Committee Chairman Association, which organised the conference.