Hyderabad, Nov 13 (UNI) The Opposition TDP and BJP today urged the Congress MPs from Andhra Pradesh to take the lead in stalling the Lok Sabha proceedings during the Winter Session to pressurise the Centre to hike the MSP for paddy, even as the ruling Congress accused the TDP of shedding ''crocodile tears'' for the farmers.
Participating in an inclusive short duration discussion on the issue, Congress Legislator Ch Ramakrishna Reddy charged the TDP with staging a ''drama'' by coming to the Assembly in tractors and bullock carts and rushing to the Speaker's podium evoking noisy protests. It was the TDP President N Chandrababu Naidu who had dubbed farming as ''sheer waste'', he claimed amidst din.
Intervening, Mr Naidu maintained that rice production in 2000-01 was a record 1.24 crore tonnes, whereas it was only 1.17 crore tonnes in 2004-05. He alleged the Congress Government had turned the 'Jalayagnam' (Irrigation initiative) into 'dhanayagnam' (avenue for minting money).
Stating that soon after the TDP came to power three tobacco growers were killed in police firing for staging a stir for remunerative price, the Congress Legislator said. The suicide spree by farmers continued during Chandrababu Naidu regime, he alleged even as the TDP members shouted slogans against the Congress.
Another Congress Legislator Srinvasan Reddy contended it was the previous TDP Government which had ''betrayed'' the interest of sugarcane growers by privatising many cooperative sugar mills.
TDP Legislator D Narendra and BJP Floor Leader G Kishan Reddy criticised the Union Ministers and MPs from Andhra Pradesh for ''keeping quiet'', while the farmers suffered as they were not getting a remunerative price for their produce, which forced about 4,000 of them to commit suicide.
The TDP leader said the Congress MPs from the State should resign and take up the cause of peasants with the Centre. He alleged the Government had put into cold storage the M S Swaminathan Committee report for fixing MSP for farm produce.
AIMIM Floor Leader Akbaruddin Owaisi and CPI(ML) New Democracy member G Narasaiah said the demand for hike in MSP should be considered even, while ensuring that rice price did not shoot up in the market.
TRS Legislator M Satyanarayana and Janata Party member Sasidhar Reddy demanded that the MSP for not only paddy but also for other crops, including sugarcane, be hiked to provide remunerative prices to farmers for their produce.