Shiv Sena minister Diwakar Raote, who is one of the members of the state committee formed to look into the farmers’ demands, today alleged that he was kept in the dark about the formation of the panel. However, BJP minister Chandrakant Patil said he himself had called Raote to invite him for the panel’s maiden meeting on Sunday. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis yesterday announced the formation of a six-member high powered committee to look into the various demands of farmers, including a loan waiver. Talking to reporters here, Raote said, “I had no idea about my name being included in the ministers panel formed to look into farmers issues. We had been kept in the dark.”
Responding to his charges, BJP leader and state Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil said he himself called Raote twice last night to invite him for the panel’s first meeting to be held on Sunday. “The first meeting of the committee will be held in Mumbai on Sunday at 1pm. I myself called Raote twice and invited him for the meeting,” Patil said. Patil, who heads the committee, further claimed that the state government has already accepted 90 per cent of the demands made by protesting farmers.
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“The remaining demands will be looked into during the the meeting on Sunday. The BJP will keep trying to give utmost respect to the Sena,” Patil added. The other members of the panel are Agriculture Minister Pandurang Fundkar, Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, Cooperation Minister Subhash Deshmukh and Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan. The group will hold discussions with farmers’ leaders and submit a proposal to the state government.