The Madhya Pradesh government on Monday began buying onions at Rs 8 per kg in an attempt to placate farmers seeking better prices for their produce. This came hours after two leaders of Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), which is believed to have started the farmers’ agitation last week, were taken into preventive custody on Sunday night.
Bhopal SP (South) Siddharth Bahuguna called Anil Yadav’s and Ramnaresh Yadav’s detention necessary. He said the two had allegedly been circulating messages “to instigate farmers to take to the streets”.
The BKU contradicted chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s announcement on Sunday that farmers had called off their strike. It was one of the three organisations that said that the agitation would continue. The BKU accused the state government of trying to drive a wedge between the farmers’ organisations by calling RSS-affiliated Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) for talks.
The CM and BKS had claimed the farmers were satisfied with the government’s assurance on buying onions and to ensure 50 per cent payment in cash for produce sold at mandis and the rest through electronic transfers. Farmers’ groups other than BKS, which joined the agitation after it gathered momentum, said their demands were not met.
Chouhan told reporters on Monday that the farmers were angry because they were getting lower than anticipated prices due to bumper production. He credited his government’s initiatives for the bumper production.
Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangh vice-president Trilok Gothi said they had called for a bandh on Wednesday.