In his attempt to bring peace to violence-hit Madhya Pradesh and hold talks with farmers, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan began his fast on Saturday. While families of farmers killed in Mandsaur violence have demanded that the Chief Minister visit them, Chouhan has called farmers to discuss issues with him at Dussehra Maidan.
बातचीत से दो देशों के मसले हल हो जाते हैं। यह तो मेरे और आपके बीच हल हो जाने वाली समस्या है। आइये, बेहिचक अपनी बात कहिए।— ShivrajSingh Chouhan (@ChouhanShivraj) June 10, 2017
Before he began his fast on Saturday, Chouhan took to Twitter to appeal for peace. In one such tweet, he encouraged farmers to come ahead and hold talks with him. "Talks can sort out differences between two nations. The issues between you and me are something that is easily solvable. Please come forward and talk to me without hesitation," Chouhan tweeted.
Calling himself the 'son of a farmer' the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister attempted to pacify angry farmers. "The state government stands firmly with the farmers. We are going to buy the farm produce and give profitable prices for it", he said. "We have already bought huge quantity of onions at Minimum Support Price (MSP) of 8 rupees per kilogram. Each onion of farmers will be bought. Your labour won't go waste. We are going to buy different varieties of pulses at MSP," he added.
Chouhan's fast comes at a time when agitated farmers have called for action against police officers who they claim have been targeting farmers unnecessarily. The Madhya Pradesh government has not only announced a compensation of Rs 1 crore for kin of farmers killed in Mandsaur violence but is also said to be considering the possibility of waiving off loans at a cost of around Rs 2,000 crores. A move that could benefit close to 6 lakh farmers.
The Congress, however, called Chouhan's fast 'theatrics'. The leader of Opposition in the Assembly Ajay Singh said that Chief Minister had got down to drama. "While the farmers in the state are on the roads with their demands, the Chief Minister has got down to this nautanki. He will now spend crores of rupees in this Kejriwal-like drama. The truth is that Chouhan is trying to divert the public's attention from the core issue and is hence using all these cheap tricks," the Congress leader said.