After the Centre refused the Chhattisgarh government's demand to increase minimum support price (MSP) of paddy and the state's quota for rice in the Central pool, Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel convened meetings of MPs, leaders and farmers on Tuesday to discuss the issue.
The main opposition, BJP, however, skipped these meetings.
The Congress government in the state has decided to pay Rs 2,500 per quintal of paddy to farmers as per its Assembly election promise, while the Centre had fixed MSP for 2019-20 between Rs 1,815-1,835.
Hitting out at the BJP, Baghel said, "Despite prior invitation to BJP MPs and leaders for attending the meeting on Tuesday to discuss the demand of increasing MSP for paddy and state's quota of rice for central pool, they did not come. BJP should clarify whether it wants farmers to get Rs 2,500 for paddy or not."
Baghel had written letters to the Centre requesting a hike in MSP for paddy to Rs 2500 per quintal or authorise the state to procure the crop at an increased price.
Besides, he had also sought that the Centre increase the procurement quota of rice to the Central pool from 24 lakh tonnes to 32 lakh tonnes.
Nearly 85 lakh tonnes of paddy procurement is expected in the state in the ongoing crop season.
The Centre refused to increase the state's quota in the Central pool citing sufficient rice in stock and said disbursement of bonus on paddy procurement by states distorted the market, officials here said.
Baghel, however, contended that contrary to disturbing the market, it was flourishing in Chhattisgarh after the state government purchased paddy at Rs 2500 per quintal in the previous Kharif season.
"We have kept the promise of procuring paddy at Rs 2500 per quintal in year 2018-19 and this year too we will live up to our promise," he asserted.
The procurement is scheduled to start from December 1 through primary cooperative societies.
Meanwhile, he appealed to leaders in the state to rise above the party lines to raise the issue before the Centre.
In the all party meet, Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J) MLA Dharamjeet Singh, BSP MLA Keshav Chandra and CPI, NCP and CPM leaders supported the state government's stand and so did farmers, an official statement said.
The Congress has decided to hold a protest in Delhi on November 15.
Meanwhile, BJP's Durg Lok Sabha MP Vijay Baghel asked why the Congress was discussing the issue with others when it had made a promise on its own to procure paddy at Rs 2500 per quintal.
Why are those who claim to be experts in economic management dragging the state into debt, he asked.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)