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Govt not serious towards farmers' woes: Yashwant Sinha

Addressing farmers at Kapus Soyabean Dhan Parishad organised by Shetkari Jagar Manch, Sinha had accused the BJP of reneging on promises made to farmers.

Press Trust of India  |  Akola 

Senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha. File Photo: ANI
Senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha. File Photo: ANI

A defiant veteran leader Yashwant Sinha, who was detained here yesterday while leading a protest by farmers, today vowed not to move out of the place where he spent the night till demands of cultivators of Maharashtra's region are accepted.

The former Union minister, who has had frequent run-ins with the current leadership, was detained last evening while protesting against the state government's "apathy" towards the farmers of He was taken to the district police headquarters and later released.

However, the 80-year-old leader refused to leave and sat on a dharna at the police ground, where he spent the night. He said he will not budge from the venue till all demands raised by farmers are

"The district administration held talks with us till late last night but didn't accept our demands. We won't budge from this venue till demands of farmers are met," Sinha told reporters.

The former Union finance minister said the does not appear serious about solving problems being faced by agriculturists.

"I feel the attitude of the administration and the towards farmers woes isn't serious. We are not a thing to be ridiculed, to be made fun of."

Sinha said he spoke to several local and leaders about issues related to cultivators.

Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray's media advisor Harshal Pradhan told PTI that Thackeray and Sinha spoke on phone today and discussed farmers' issues.

Sinha said there has been no communication with Chief Minister over half-a-dozen demands of farmers.

There were reports that Sinha had a telephonic conversation with NCP chief and former Union agriculture minister

The district administration, however, claimed a majority of the demands raised by farmers have been accepted.

Akola Collector Astik Pandey said the authorities concerned have accepted six of the seven demands and requested the agitators to call off the protest.

The demands include compensation to cotton farmers for losses incurred due to pink bollworm infestation, action against companies manufacturing "bogus" biotechnologically modified seeds and 100 per cent payout for crop losses to moong, did and soyabean farmers. They are also demanding that bank officials and administration execute loan waivers by personally visiting gram panchayats.

The other demands are the uninterrupted power supply to agricultural pump sets, removal of "unjust" conditions from the gold mortgage waiver scheme of the for farmers, and purchase of all farm produce at by NAFED (Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India).

"Except for the last one (related to MSP), which is a call to be taken by the Central government, we have accepted all six demands and have requested the protesters led by Sinha to call off their stir," Pandey said.

Sinha said the "excuse" for NAFED purchase is not valid as the BJP-ruled states like and have been procuring farm produce through their own systems.

"Why can't the government (led by the BJP) then do it?" the bureaucrat-turned-politician asked.

Sinha, who arrived here in three days ago to participate in the Kapus Soyabean Dhan (cotton, soyabean, paddy) Parishad, was detained, along with farmers, by police near the collectorate.

Officials said after the detention of Sinha and 150-odd farmers yesterday, they were told around 9:30 pm that they were free and can go.

Since they decided to stay put, they were provided food, water, blankets and toilet facilities at the protest venue, Akola SP M Rajesh Kalasagar said.

Addressing farmers at organised by Shetkari Jagar Manch here on Sunday, Sinha had accused the of reneging on promises made to farmers.

"Before coming to power, the BJP had promised to give 50 per cent over and above the minimum support price (MSP). But after coming to power, the party forgot the promise.

"Just as Indian soldiers carried out surgical strikes across the border, farmers will also carry out a surgical strike against the government to get justice," Sinha had said.

First Published: Tue, December 05 2017. 18:25 IST