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Shivraj Singh Chouhan began an indefinite fast

Shivraj Singh Chouhan began an indefinite fast

Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan began an indefinite fast here on Saturday to “restore peace” in the state scorched by violence by farmers after his police opened fire on June 6 that killed six men protesting for debt relief and better crop prices.While he called for peace, state agriculture minister Gourishankar Bisen ruled out loan waiver for farmers, saying they have been given interest-free loans.

The opposition termed the CM’s move a “drama” and criticised his “hypocrisy”. Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Ajay Singh said, “While farmers are on roads with their demands, the CM is doing his drama. He will now spend crores of rupees in this drama.”

“Chouhan is trying to divert the public’s attention from the core issue and is using cheap tricks,” said the Congress leader.

The CM, however, said his fast at Bhopal’s Dussehra Maidan would continue till peace is restored in the entire state. He called his move Gandhigiri, and appealed to farmers to end protests.

“I can feel the pain of farmers and want – from the core of heart – this violence to end. I genuinely want to resolve problems of the people. I assure a fair probe into the police firing and promise to bring the culprits to book”, he said.

He said protests were not justified because the government was willing to listen to the aggrieved people. “I am ready to talk to you,” he said, while again blaming the Congress for instigating violence.

Unimpressed by his gesture, a farmers’ body led by former RSS leader Shiv Kumar Sharma called for a “jail bhoro” agitation on Sunday to protest the police action at Mandsaur which has been hit by large-scale violence with several vehicles burnt and buildings torched.

The violence is bad news for the BJP, which swept to power in Madhya Pradesh 14 years ago. As the state, ravaged by drought and farm suicides, goes to the polls next year, the latest unrest has armed the Opposition with a rallying point against the BJP government.

About Srinivas Mohanty

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