BJP terms Rahul Gandhi’s Mandsaur visit as ‘photo opportunity’ yatra, slams Congress for instigating violence 

Recalling that on January 12, 1998, 24 farmers had died in police firing in the state's Betul district when Congress leader Digvijay Singh was the chief minister, Naidu said, "he never resigned."

By: PTI | New Delhi | Published:June 8, 2017 8:18 pm
 Rahul Gandhi's Mandsaur visit, Mandsaur farmer police clash, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Mandsaur farmer deaths Venkaiah Naidu dismissed the Congress’ demand that Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan should step down from his post in view of the deaths of five protesting farmers in police firing. (PTI/File)

Terming Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Mandsaur as a “photo opportunity”, the BJP on Thursday accused the opposition party of “fuelling violence” in the farmers’ protests and claimed “guilty” leaders have been identified and will be punished.

“It is unfortunate that the Congress is politicising the issue. It is instigating, fuelling violence. Its vice-president now wants to visit the place as part of his photo opportunity yatra which he undertakes on a regular basis,” BJP leader and Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu said.

The Information and Broadcasting Minister also dismissed the Congress’ demand that Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan should step down from his post in view of the deaths of five protesting farmers in police firing.

Recalling that on January 12, 1998, 24 farmers had died in police firing in the state’s Betul district when Congress leader Digvijay Singh was the chief minister, he said, “he never resigned.”

Briefing reporters at the BJP headquarters, party spokesperson GVL Narsimha Rao accused state Congress leaders of fanning violence after the government reached an agreement with the protesting farmers, agreeing to their demands. Out of power in the state for 14 years, the Congress was looking at violence to resurrect its fortunes, he said.

“The Congress’ hand is with anarchy and violence. The BJP will expose its evil designs to wreak violence for resurrecting its flagging fortunes. We strongly condemn the Congress for first provoking violence and then to exploit a human tragedy.

“All Congress leaders responsible for provoking violence have been identified. They are being charged with under various sections of the IPC and will face the wrath of the law for their unlawful actions,” Rao said.

What Rahul Gandhi is doing is nothing but political drama, he said, adding that he goes wherever he sees TV cameras. Naidu asked the Congress to behave in a “more mature and responsible” manner to help restore normalcy in the hotbed of the farmers’ protest, instead of fanning sentiments.

He assured farmers of Madhya Pradesh that the state government was taking all possible steps to deal with the issue of drop in prices of certain agricultural produce. Defending Chouhan, Naidu hailed him as the “most farmer-friendly chief minister” who took quick measures to control the present situation in the state, which he said has registered highest growth rate vis-à-vis agriculture sector.

Naidu also listed a slew of measures the Centre and the state government had undertaken for farmers’ welfare,including efforts of increasing irrigated area size and making available adequate electricity and seeds. “Production of certain crops is beyond expectation so there is fall in the prices and the government is trying to address the problem. I appeal to them, please cooperate with the government, don’t try to create panic and don’t try to aggravate the situation,” he added.

Apparently referring to the demands for debt relief by the farmers, Naidu said loan waiver depends upon financial condition of the state governments.

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