Advani to address farmers rally in Vidarbha on May 3

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Nagpur, Apr 29 (UNI) Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and senior BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani will address a rally of paddy growers at Sakoli in Bhandara district in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra on May 3.

Speaking to reporters here today, state BJP unit president Nitin Gadkari said nearly three lakh farmers from the paddy-growing belt of Vidarbha, including Gondia, Bhandara, Gadchiroli, Chandrapur and Nagpur districts, were expected to attend the rally. The rally was being held to highlight the problems of farmers in the region, especially paddy growers, he said.

The party was demanding complete loan waiver for farmers, a minimum support price of Rs 1,200 per quintal for paddy, end to load shedding in rural areas and loans at an interest rate of 4 per cent to farmers, Mr Gadkari said.

BJP all-India general secretary Gopinath Munde, besides Members of Parliament and legislators belonging to the party and elected from the paddy belt, would attend the rally, he said.

Significantly, this will be the first time since the crisis in the BJP triggered by Mr Munde's resignation that the former Maharashtra deputy chief minister, Mr Gadkari and Mr Advani will share the dais.

Mr Gadkari pointed out that he and Mr Munde would be together at a party programme to be held in Mumbai on May 2, just a day before Mr Advani visits Vidarbha.

Replying to questions, Mr Gadkari said there were now no squabbles in the state unit of the party.

Asked what had triggered Mr Munde's anger, Mr Gadkari quipped: ''You ask Mr Munde himself when he comes to Nagpur (on his way to Sakoli).'' Mr Munde had resigned from all party posts last week after differences with the BJP leadership over the party's affairs in Maharashtra. However, he had later withdrawn his resignation.

BJP president Rajnath Singh led a two-day 'Kisan Yatra' in Wardha, Amravati, Akola, Washim and Yavatmal districts of Vidarbha in January last to highlight the problems of farmers in the region.

The Yatra had passed through five of the six districts in the region (Buldhana being the sixth) that have been affected the worst by farmers' suicides.

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