BJP 'anti-farmer govt.': Congress
New Delhi [India] June 8 (ANI): With Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi visiting Madhya Pradesh's Mandsaur today to meet the grieving families of the farmers who lost their lives in the police firing, the party leaders on Thursday said that the BJP was an 'anti-farmer' government, adding the Centre was ignoring the genuine demands of the farmers.
"Rahul Gandhi will be most probably visiting the area, because now the farming community in India is totally against the Modi Government. It is an anti-farmer government. This has never happened before. There was an agitation in Maharashtra, now in Madhya Pradesh and this is happening because this government is ignoring the genuine demand of the farmers," Congress leader P. C. Chacko told ANI.
He further said that during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) rule, the Congress had increased the amount of the minimum support price to the farmers by six times.
"Since the last three years, the amount of the minimum support price has increased very little and that too only Rs. 50. Loan waiver is the farmers' right. The farmers in this country cannot pay their dues to the banks, so they deserve a loan waiver. The biggest loan waiver in the country was done by the UPA government. This government's policy should come out in front if there is any," Chacko added.
He asserted that the Congress would not allow the ruling government to continue the tirade against the farmers and the party leaders were fully in support with the farmers.
Meanwhile, another Congress leader Meem Afzal said that the Congress has been, since the beginning, saying that the farmers' loan should be spared by the government.
"The farmers are really frustrated and burden of loan can be seen on them. The government just knows to make promises, but does not want to implement an actual plan in this issue," he added.
The Centre has hit back at Rahul Gandhi for publicising the entire matter through his visit, and branded it as a publicity stunt.
"Rahul Gandhi is going to that area where situation is tense. He should understand his responsibility. He should have talked about this first, but he is so fond of his publicity. That's why he is going there." Union Minister of Steel, Mines and Employment Narendra Singh Tomar told ANI.
Meanwhile, the Congress has rebuffed reports of Rahul participating in the ongoing farmers protest in Mandsaur, saying such a plan was never on the card for the party.
"People who wanted to go and express solidarity with the bereaved farmers, including Rahul Gandhi, were denied permission. Instead canards and rumours were spread that he wanted to go earlier to participate in the protest. There were never any plans, never any attempt," Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said in a press briefing.
Appealing for peace to the agitating farmers in the state, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan earlier announced a compensation of Rs. 1 crore to the kin of those killed in the violence.
Speaking to ANI, the Chief Minister asserted that his government stands with farmers and assured that various demands have been fulfilled in the past.
"In the past 11 years, there have been countless decisions made for the welfare of farmers. The various demands of the farmers have been fulfilled," he said.
However, Chouhan came down heavily on the Congress for giving a political tinge to the violence.
The farmers' agitation in Mandsaur district further intensified with protestors setting at least eight to ten vehicles on fire today.
Demanding the presence of Chouhan, the protesting farmers, got into a scuffle with the Collector and Superintendent of Police of Mandsaur district over them delaying their visit to the area.
Farmers hit the streets protesting over their demands for remunerative prices for their produce and a farm loan waiver not being met.
This unfortunately took an ugly turn yesterday when five farmers were killed and eight others were injured in two separate incidents of firing in Mandsaur.
The protestors alleged that police fired at them. A judicial probe has been ordered in the matter. (ANI)