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Will Modi reassert 'supremacy' in Pandharkawada, hotspot of farmers's suicides in Vidarbha

IANS  |  Yavatmal (Maharashtra) 

Immense curiosity has arisen after Narendra Modi's plans were made known to address a pre-election rally on February 16 in the small village of in district, one of the poorest in

Twenty-five years ago, this was from where the tragic story of farmers' suicides was first brought to the global stage. district is considered the place where suicides have been the highest. It is here that local engineer-turned-farmers set the proverbial cat among the pigeons by demanding that replace Modi if the party was to survive the 2019 elections. He also said that should be replaced.

It is from this very village that Modi had in March 2014 promised to implement a 2006 report by on improving the lot of farmers if the BJP was elected to power at the Centre.

On March 20, 2014, Modi had organised a special, high-profile "Kisanon ke Saath, Chai Pe Charcha' with the farmers of Vidarbha, including from It was at that meeting Modi suddenly pulled out the long-forgotten Commission Report and promised to implement it - if voted to power - something that later proved to be easier said than done, Tiwari recalled.

Tiwari, who is the of the (VNSSM) with ministerial status, had categorically demanded that the BJP "get rid of both Modi and Shah" for their "anti-and anti-people policies".

As the entire direction of national political debate changed, Shah was forced to make a statement in stating "there would be no leadership change".

A week later, Tiwari dropped another bombshell by writing to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) on the same issue. Significantly, Tiwari, Gadkari and Chief are all stalwarts from the region of eastern Maharashtra, and coincidentally, the RSS is headquartered in Nagpur, the state's second capital.

All this was crowned by appreciation from none other than and Party sources reveal that Tiwari's suggestions on Gadkari were reportedly "received positively" both in the BJP, RSS and other sections of the saffron parivar.

When asked, Tiwari sought to downplay the issue, saying: "The PM's visit to Pandharkawada is indeed a very welcome development and has raised the aspirations of the local farmers, tribals and women's organisations, all reeling under huge debts.

"Sentiment is running high that the PM may announce a package to provide relief even to the tribals and women's groups and his visit may spur the farmers' aid to be released on priority before the elections," Tiwari told IANS.

"No, there are no attempts to gag me. I am merely highlighting the private opinions of many in the BJP," Tiwari claimed to a direct query on whether he encountered problems after his December assertions.

A BJP source said this time, five years later after becoming the Prime Minister, Modi was expected to "provide a convincing account" of what exactly the NDA government has done for the farmers and the future plans for the still-distressed farmlands across the country.

With a population of around 40,000 tribals-farmers, Pandharkawada has another distinction. It was the first tribal village in the country selected under the then Indira Gandhi's historic Integrated Tribal Development Plan of 1976.

Modi will become only the second to visit Pandharkawada. come calling in 2006 when he spent two full days in Former A.P.had received a delegation of Pandharkavada's farmers in 2009 in

Then a young leader, visited the place in 2008, besides Nationalist Party President and many other dignitaries. Vowing to make "an everlasting, vote-catching impression" in the suicide-sullied soil of Vidarbha and rest of India, the BJP is chalking out massive plans to get farmers from adjoining districts like Wardha, Chandrapur, Nanded and even neighbouring Telangana, which ranks high on farmland suicides.

(Quaid Najmi can be reached at



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, February 12 2019. 14:48 IST