The damage to crops due to rain, hailstorm and cold has become a major issue for both BJP and Congress in Madhya Pradesh ahead of Lok Sabha polls as none can afford to neglect the farming community, which constitutes a major vote bank.
While the Opposition Congress described state Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s fast on Thursday along with his Council of Ministers to take up the farmers’ issues as “politics”, the BJP justified it saying the party was highlighting the rights of the farming community.
“Farmers are the backbone of the country and comprise 70 per cent of the total population. They are ‘Annadata’ (food grains provider) to the people and staging a protest for their rights cannot be termed as politics,” state BJP unit president Narendra Singh Tomar said.
Criticising Congress for terming the protest as “politics”, Tomar said, “BJP is a leading political party in the state with focus on farmer-centric politics. We believe that every government’s first priority should be farmers and is duty bound to fulfil their needs on priority. We are doing the same and will be with them in their hour of crisis. We take pride in it.”
Earlier, Chouhan had also hit out at the Congress for terming his visit to the affected villages as “Ola paryatan” (hail tourism) and alleged that its leaders were insensitive towards the plight of farmers.
The state ministers and BJP leaders on Thursday observed fast in Bhopal to draw the attention of central government towards the plight of farmers by demanding a special package of Rs 5,000 crore for providing relief to them.
The fast was also observed as the Centre failed to provide relief for soybean crop loss, not purchasing gram crop on MSP at Rs 3,100 per quintal and not recognising Madhya Pradesh as a basmati rice producing region.