Congress party workers today burnt the effigy of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan here, in protest against the detention of party vice- president Rahul Gandhi while he was on his way to Mandsaur, the ground zero of the farmer protests. In Naya Gaon, about 70 kms from Mandsaur, Gandhi, accompanied by senior Congress leaders and the JD(U)’s Sharad Yadav, was detained by the police when the opposition leaders tried to make their way from the Rajasthan border to Mandsaur. Gandhi was released after over four hours of detention in the guest house of a cement company. Raising slogans against the Madhya Pradesh government for detaining Gandhi, the district and city unit workers of Congress started the march from the party office here. They also criticised the Madhya Pradesh government for its “anti-farmer policies”. The workers had initially decided to march to the state Assembly building but were stopped a little distance away from the party office, where they set the effigy on fire.
“The Madhya Pradesh government, which is responsible for opening fire on innocent farmers, also got the Congress vice- president Rahul Gandhi arrested through the district administration while he was on his way to meet the families of the victims of Mandsaur (firing),” a Congress worker said. Farmers in Mandsaur have been protesting since June 1 demanding loan waiver and better crop prices. Five farmers were killed in police firing on Tuesday as the agitation turned violent. The Congress has described as “cold-blooded murder” the killing of the five farmers and questioned the prime minister’s silence on it.
On the other hand, the BJP today termed Gandhi’s visit to Mandsaur as a “photo opportunity”, and accused the opposition party of “fuelling violence” in the farmers’ protests and claimed “guilty” leaders have been identified and will be punished.