BJD takes farmers fight to Delhi, Opp agitate in Odisha

Bhubaneswar, Jan 8: As the ruling BJD held a “Krushak Adhikar Samavesh” at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium in New Delhi, the opposition Congress and BJP Tuesday separately staged agitations in Odisha for the rights of the farmers.

                The leading farmers body, the Naba Nirman Krushak Sangathan (NNKS), also demonstrated near the Raj Bhavan here highlighting plights of farmers and criticised Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for taking up the matter at the national capital instead of doing its own beat in the state.

                “The state government and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik are not sincere to deal with the farmers miseries in Odisha. The ruling party is holding demonstration in the national capital keeping any eye on the next elections for the state assembly,” NNKS convenor Akshya Kumar said.

                The NNKS has been agitating for a long time demanding proper price on agricultural products, pension for the elderly farmers and social prestige for cultivators.

                Hundreds of BJP activists organised a Secretariat Ghero agitation here trying to thwart people’s entry or exit from the state’s main administrative building.

                The activists also burnt effigy of the chief minister accusing the state government of not opening adequate ‘Mandis’ for paddy procurement.

                “There is no sufficient Mandis in districts for paddy procurement. The farmers are committing suicide due to faulty policy of the state government. The government has not been giving bonus to farmers despite the CM’s announcement,” BJP leader Pratap Sarangi said.

                Meanwhile, members of Odisha Congress farmers’ cell led by its chairman Amiya Kumar Patnaik marched to Raj Bhawan where they submitted a memorandum highlighting the peasants’ problems in the state.

                “The Congress demands included waiver of farm loan, bonus of Rs 750 per quintal of paddy and opening of adequate mandis for paddy procurement,” Amiya Kumar Patnaik said.

                State Congress president Niranjan Patnaik in a series of tweets said: “Naveen Patnaik and Co are going on a picnic today to Delhi which costs Rs 52 lakh. They are doing this in the name of farmers. Had this money been given to farmers in debt, many precious lives of peasants could have been saved.”

                The Congress leader also accused Naveen Patnaik, also the BJD president, of shedding crocodile tears over farmers’ issues.

                Naveen Patnaik attended a sit-in of his party at the Talkatora Stadium, demanding increase in minimum support price for paddy and slamming the Modi government for not keeping its promises, according to a report from New Delhi.

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