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MP farmers' protest: CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan begins 'sham' fast to restore peace

Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan made an announcement that he will go on an indefinite fast for peace and invited people to come up with their problems. (Image courtesy: Twitter @CMMadhyaPradesh) Photograph: (Others)

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Jun 10, 2017, 04.08 AM (IST)

Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan began his indefinite fast to restore peace at Bhopal's Dussehra Maidan. 

The chief minister decided to go on an indefinite fast for peace in the wake of the farmers agitation over better prices and farm loan waiver.

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The chief minister said that 65 per cent of the population is dependent on farming and the state cannot progress without farmers.

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The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) has vowed to stand in support of the chief minister.

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BJP leader GVL Narasimha Rao said,"Shivraj Chouhan ji is known as the friend of the farmers and we all know that Madhya Pradesh has delivered the best results in the agricultural sector. He is one chief minister who is accessible to people all the time."

He also said that the chief minister met farmers' leaders on June 4 and assured that their problems will be resolved.

"Even in this present agitation, he met the farmers' leader on June 4 and promised to resolve this problem. He has also appealed to the farmers to maintain calm and not to be misled by any political criminal elements who are trying to derail the entire situation. By going on a fast he has shown his commitment for the people and the state," he added.

Another BJP leader and member of parliament Meenakshi Lekhi said that the BJP always stood by the farmers while the opposition has never done anything apart from cribbing about the situation. 

"I totally stand by Shivraj Chouhan's fast for peace and support him in this initiative. The BJP has always stood by farmers and to their demands; even this time our leaders are coming forward to fast for peace which is a good attempt. The Opposition has never done anything for the farmers yet and will never do. Either they can only talk or crib about the situation," Lekhi told ANI.

Chouhan, on Friday, made an announcement that he will go on an indefinite fast for peace and invited people to come up with their problems.

Farmers in Madhya Pradesh's Mandsaur district have been protesting for better prices for their produce and loan waiver. On Tuesday, five protesters were killed in police firing. 

The ruling BJP has accused the Congress of provoking the farmers and fuelling the protests. 

On Thursday, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi tried to meet the families of those who were killed but he was briefly arrested while on his way to Mandsaur.

Protests had spread to other cities including Neemuch, Dewas and Ujjain.

The chief minister had urged the farmers to maintain calm. The district administration in Mandsaur, while taking a stock of the situation decided to relax curfew in Mandsaur on Friday.

Congress slams CM

Meanwhile, the Congress termed the indefinite fast by Chouhan amid farmers unrest in the state, as a "pretence" and asked him to prepare for his "political exile".

"Shivraj Singh Chouhan's fast is a drama...It is a sham, he should answer why a case of murder has not been filed in the death of five farmers in Madhya Pradesh," party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told reporters here.

He said the inaction of the state government forced the farmers to sell their produce below minimum support price (MSP) to middlemen.

Farmers are selling potatoes and onions at throwaway prices in the state. The situation is similar in case of wheat as well, he alleged.

"This fast is nothing but a pretence...The Congress is with farmers in their fight for their rights," Surjewala said.

(WION with inputs from agencies)     

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