Farmers strike enters 4th day: As vegetable prices shoot up, BJP minister terms agitation a ‘media gimmick’

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New Delhi | Updated: June 4, 2018 2:01:52 PM

The 10-day strike by farmers to seek better MSP for their produce, farm loan waiver, higher compensation for damaged crops and full implementation of the MS Swaminathan report today entered its fourth day.

farmers protestFarmers strike: With the protest continues unabated, political parties led by the Congress have targetted the BJP-ruled government at the Centre over the issue.

The 10-day strike by farmers to seek better MSP for their produce, farm loan waiver, higher compensation for damaged crops and full implementation of the MS Swaminathan report today entered its fourth day. While the 10-day farmers agitation largely continues in peaceful manner, reports of vegetable prices soaring in several urban areas have caused concern. The strike began on June 1 as farmers from Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh joined the protest to press for their demand of remunerative prices for their produce and waiver of farm loans.

With the protest continues unabated, political parties led by the Congress have targetted the BJP-ruled government at the Centre over the issue. An event will be held on Wednesday to pay homage to victims who were killed in a similar protest in Madhya Pradesh’s Mandsaur last year. Congress President Rahul Gandhi is likely to attend the event.

WATCH: Union Minister for Agriculture Radha Mohan Singh’s statement

Security has been beefed up by police in Mandsaur ahead of Congress chief Rahul Gandhi’s visit on June 6. Mandsaur SP Manoj Kumar Singh said drones were brought from Bhopal “to keep an eye on traffic movement for security reasons during Gandhi’s public meeting”.

BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha, former Union Finance minister Yashwant Sinha, and ex-VHP leader Praveen Togadia are likely to join the stir in Mandsaur, the epicentre of last year’s agitation in which six people were killed in police firing, on June 8. “Yashwant Sinha, Shatrughan Sinha and Praveen Togadia would attend our ‘Dhikkar Diwas’ (condemnation day) programme and condolence meeting which we have rescheduled to June 8 instead of June 6,” said Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Mahasangh president Shivkumar Sharma ‘Kakkaji’.

The Mahasangh, a federation of 130 farmers’ bodies from across the country, is spearheading the nationwide protest. Sharma alleged that the police have been trying to break the ongoing “Gaon bandh” agitation by forcing farmers to come out of villages with agricultural produce. “This is a village shutdown agitation and farmers are not coming out of their villages. However, police are trying to make farmers leave villages by adopting various means. At places, the administration is sharing fake videos showing that farmers are not participating in the agitation,” he alleged.

Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge on Sunday lashed out at the BJP saying the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) had never indulged in publicity and believed in action, whereas the ruling dispensation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is a “barking government”. “Compare the farm loan waiver under NDA and UPA governments. We (have) never indulged in publicity. We used to work and stay quiet. Maybe that’s why they used to call us ‘mauni’ (silent) & ‘goongi’ (mute) govt,” Kharge said.

Union Minister for Agriculture Radha Mohan Singh has hit back saying the 10-day farmer strike was a mere media gimmick. Speaking at a press conference in Patna, Singh said, “Desh mein 12-14 Crore kisaan hain. Kisi bhi sangathan mein 1000-2000 kisaan svabhavik hain aur media mein aane ke liye anokha kaam karna hi padta hai (There are around 12 to 14 crore farmers in the country. It is normal for any farmer’s organisation to have 1000-2000 farmers and they have to do something extraordinary to get the media’s attention).”

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