THE FOUR-DAY-LONG agitation by farmers in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh, which turned violent over the past two days in some districts, ended on Sunday amid conflicting versions by organisations leading the stir. After its office-bearers met Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in Ujjain, the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS), an organisation affiliated to the RSS, said it has suspended the agitation. It announced that the government had accepted most of its demands like buying onions at Rs 8 a kg and paying farmers half their dues at mandis in cash and the remaining through electronic transfer to their bank accounts.
“We have suspended the agitation but if the government goes back on its promises we may take to the streets again,’’ said BKS leader Shivkant Dixit, seating next to the CM at the Ujjain Circuit House. He said the CM called him up late on Saturday and invited him for talks.
He said the government will buy moong dal from farmers at MSP and onions at Rs 8 a kg. Last year, the government had bought onions at Rs 6 a kg. He said vegetable yards will be brought under the purview of the legislation covering agriculture produce marketing yards. Also, crop insurance scheme will be made optional. He announced that cases against farmers in connection with the incidents over the past few days will be withdrawn.
However, Bharatiya Kisan Union, a little-known organisation that is believed to be behind the stir, said the agitation will go on. BKU leader Anil Yadav threatened to intensify the stir from Monday. The organisation did not get any call from the CM.
President of Kisan Mazdoor Sangh Shivkumar Sharma said the government had cheated farmers by holding talks with an organisation that was nowhere in the picture in the first two days of the stir seeking fair price for their produce and loan waiver.
Sharma, a former RSS man who floated a parallel organisation after being expelled from the BKS a few years ago, called the BKS an agent of the government. He said his organisation will continue the agitation till all demands were met. “How can an organisation withdraw an agitation that it did not start,’’ he said, referring to the BKS.
Over the past three days, groups of farmers turned violent in Dhar, Bioara, Indore, Jhabua, Ujjain, Ratlam, and Mandsaur among other places. At some places they clashed with traders and vegetable vendors and attacked police officials. The police had to open fire at some places to disperse violent mobs.
The agitation by the farmers in MP after taking a clue from their counterparts in Maharashtra caused prices of vegetables to soar and resulted in shortage of milk.