Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s farmer rally in the western Odisha district of Bargarh on Sunday to popularise the Centre’s new crop insurance scheme, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) Thursday held two farmers’ rallies in Balangir and Kalahandi districts.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik laid the foundation stones of projects amounting to Rs 450 crore in Kesinga of Kalahandi and Gudvela of Balangir districts and addressed farmers. BJD spokesperson Pratap Deb, however, said Patnaik’s visit was part of the scheme to implement the announcements made at a farmers’ rally in Bargarh district last year.
The projects include Upper Indravati canal and two mega lift irrigation points at Kesinga and Gudvela. “There is no attempt to upstage anyone. The CM is just keeping his promise to farmers,” the spokesperson said, adding, “We will hold several such meetings in western Odisha.”
Party sources said through such meetings the party wants to show it still cares for farmers. The party also hopes that Patnaik’s meetings would energise grassroots functionaries ahead of next year’s panchayat polls and reduce farmers’ anger against the government over largescale farmer suicides. About 150 farmers killed themselves in the state last year.
At Bargarh, the PM is expected to speak about Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana. State BJP leaders expect at least 2 lakh people to turn up. Besides Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah, Union agriculture minister and other BJP leaders, including Union petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan, are likely to be present and target the state government over farmer suicides.