The district administration, however, has adopted a tough stance and refused to cave in to all of Mr Sinha’s demands.
Mumbai: A day after former Union finance minister Yashwant Sinha, a senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, was detained by the police in Akola while protesting over the issues of cotton and soya bean farmers, the Maharashtra government intervened. Public works department minister Chandrakant Patil has finally agreed to talk with the 80-year-old leader, who continued his protest on Tuesday in Vidarbha, insisting that FIRs be lodged against bogus Bt cotton companies.
Mr Patil said he would speak to the CM regarding Mr Sinha’s protest. “I appeal to our senior leader to withdraw the protest as the state government is fulfilling the demands made by him,” Mr Patil told reporters.
The district administration, however, has adopted a tough stance and refused to cave in to all of Mr Sinha’s demands. District collector Astik Pandey said the administration has accepted six of the leader’s seven demands and urged him to call off the agitation. The administration has pointed out that it would not be able to accept the seventh demand — purchase of all farm produce at minimum support price by the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India — as it comes under the jurisdiction of the Union government.
Meanwhile, BJP MP Nana Patole is the only leader from the saffron party who has extended support to the 80-year-old leader while West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal have supported Mr Sinha via social media. Mr Patole alleged that his own government had ignored Mr Sinha’s protest. “I was told that the chief minister refused to speak to Mr Sinha while police detained him. Many other leaders are likely to join Mr Sinha including Shatrughan Sinha, Arun Shourie and Varun Gandhi,” Mr Patole said.
On Monday, addressing farmers at a programme called Kapus Soyabean Dhan Parishad (cotton, soyabean and paddy rally), organised by Shetkari Jagar Manch at Akola, Mr Sinha had alleged, “Before coming to power, the BJP had promised to give 50 per cent over and above the minimum support price. But after coming to power, the party forgot its promise. Just as Indian soldiers carried out surgical strikes across the border, farmers will also carry out a surgical strike against the government till justice is done.”