Paddy arrival has expedited in the procurement centres in Chhattisgarh, playing spoilsport to the poll outcome predictions of political pundits.
The state has gone to the polls in two phases on November 12 and 20. With heavy polling of over 75 per cent, political pundits predicted an edge for Congress with farmers’ holding the key to power. While BJP is seeking mandate for fourth term in succession, Congress is desperate for a change.
The initial reports that farmers were holding paddy for high returns had elated Congress. The party had declared a minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 2500 per quintal of paddy besides waiving off farm loan if voted to power in Chhattisgarh. Political observers claimed that by not selling paddy, farmers had given overt signal that they had voted for Congress.
In last few days, the paddy arrival had surged in the primary cooperative societies set for the procurement. According to state-run Marketing Federation (MARKFED) officials, around 1.4 million tonnes (MT) of paddy had reached 1995 procurement centres. The procurement had cost Rs 2911.62 crore to the state exchequer with a bonus of Rs 300 per quintal announced by the BJP besides the MSP.
The state had set a target of procuring 7.5 MT of paddy in the kharif marketing season 2018-19. About 10 days ago, only 549000 tonnes of paddy were sold even as the paddy procurement process started in the state on November 1.
The surge in the paddy arrival had again put the political pundits in dilemma to calculate the election outcome. The BJP sees surge as breather, claiming that farmers had not retaining the stock in anticipation that Congress was coming to power.
Congress leaders are least worried. “The paddy arrival in the societies expedited as state Congress President Bhupesh Baghel and leader of opposition T S Singhdeo had urged farmers to sell paddy as they required money,” party spokesperson Shailesh Nitin Trivedi said. The farmers have been assured that the Congress government would disburse the difference, he added.