'Where was Congress president earlier when farmers faced bad times?'

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Bhopal, Apr 1: A day ahead of Sonia Gandhi's proposed visit to rain-hit areas in Neemuch district, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan welcomed her even as he sought to know where was the Congress president when natural calamities hit the farmers in previous years, specially during UPA regime.

Gandhi will visit Neemuch tomorrow to meet the farmers affected by the recent unseasonal rains and hailstorms.

Shivraj Singh Chouhan

"She is our guest and I welcome her in the state. But where was she when a natural calamity of much more magnitude hit farmers in Madhya Pradesh in previous years, specially when UPA was in power," Chouhan told reporters.

He alleged that "when UPA government was in power we used to get very less compensation in comparison to the actual damage and they always cited number of rules to justify the assistance."

"Last year, Madhya Pradesh had given compensation of nearly Rs 5,487 crore, comprising Rs 3,300 crore as relief and Rs 2,187 crore under crop insurance scheme. No other state in the country had distributed such an amount of relief to the farmers," he said.

"We have also relaxed large number of rules in the revenue book to provide compensation and to cover maximum area and large number of affected farmers which was nowhere done earlier in the country," he said.

"This year nearly four lakh hectares area got affected due to natural calamity, but last year it was 35 lakh hectares. But, that time she (Sonia Gandhi) did not pay a visit to the affected farmers," Chouhan said. "I am unable to understand why and how she remembered the affected farmers now?" he asked.

He also criticised the Congress for staging a sit-in protest recently inside the well of the state Assembly even after the session was adjourned sine die.

Also read: [Help rain-hit farmers: Sonia Gandhi urges Haryana]

"The floor of the House is not meant for staging protests in such a manner. They raised a demand and said that it should be fulfilled immediately, despite the fact that the state government has already addressed all issues related to farmers' woes," Chouhan said.

The Congress staged the protest in the House for nearly four days and ended it without getting any assurance from the government on the demands raised by them.

"There was no logic behind it. They have made fun of the august house and its parliamentary practices by staging the sit-in in such a manner," he said.

PTI

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