By Saiyed Moziz Imam
New Delhi, Nov 6 (IANS) At the head of around 20,000 farmers and a convoy of about 600 vehicles, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel will “march” to Delhi next week to protest against the Central government’s “refusal” to buy paddy from his state at the rate procured by the state government from farmers.
Baghel, along with his ministers, other Congress leaders, workers and farmers, will start towards Delhi on November 13 and reach the national capital by road on November 15 after passing through Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
En route, the Chief Minister will address roadside rallies to highlight the farmers’ distress.
The state-level protest has already started from Chhattisgar’s Kanker and will culminate on November 12 in the state capital Raipur.
The All India Congress Committee (AICC) has sent an observer for this agitation against the Union government.
Talking to IANS, the AICC observer Bhakta Charan Das said the people of Chhattisgarh want justice which they had not received during the BJP rule.
The Congress has made a commitment to the people and the Chief Minister is fulfilling it, he said.
The bone of contention between the state and Union Government is the price of paddy.
The state government is buying paddy at Rs 2,500 per quintal from farmers but the Union government has said it will not give the incentive paid by the state.
The Union government wants to buy the paddy at the minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 1,815 per quintal, alleges Congress leader Idris Gandhi, who heads the research department of the Chhattisgarh Congress.
The Chhattisgarh Congress is trying to take signatures of 38 lakh farmers to petition the Central government. The Chief Minister had also convened an all-party meet on the issue, but BJP did not participate, a leader said. The state BJP says it was not invited.
The Congress party has alleged that former Chief Minister Raman Singh is taking “revenge” on farmers for his defeat and the reason for Union government’s unwillingness to pay the incentive as was done earlier during the BJP’s rule in the state.
The party has also asserted that owing to the sufficient payments made to farmers, the auto sector in the state has seen better growth as compared to other states.
(Saiyed Moziz Imam can be reached at [email protected])