"Be Sensitive": Nitish Kumar's Party Advises Ally BJP On Farm Distress

There is verifiable agrarian distress in the country and it is not linked to one state, JD(U) spokesperson Pavan Varma told NDTV

'Be Sensitive': Nitish Kumar's Party Advises Ally BJP On Farm Distress

Police firing on farmers in Mandsaur a year ago is condemnable, said JD(U) leader Pavan Varma

New Delhi:  On a day Congress president Rahul Gandhi took on the BJP-led governments at the centre and in Madhya Pradesh over farm distress, BJP ally JD(U) criticized the ruling party for its handling of the agrarian crisis and the fallout of the firing on protesting farmers in Madhya Pradesh a year ago.

Today is the first anniversary of the police firing in Mandsaur on farmers demanding loan waiver and better prices for their produce. Six farmers had died in the firing last year.

"What happened in Mandsaur a year before is condemnable --- to have police firing on farmers agitating for what they believe. It's certainly not the act of a sensitive government. I think the Madhya Pradesh government and the central government both realise this", JD(U) spokesperson Pawan Varma told NDTV.

At a time the BJP is aggressively showcasing the achievements of the four-year-old BJP-led central government ahead of next year's general elections, Mr Varma sought to expand the scale of what he called agrarian distress.

"There is verifiable agrarian distress in the country and it is not linked to one state," he said.

Yesterday, the Bihar cabinet headed by JD(U) chief NItish Kumar came up with a new farm assistance measure, in a seeming counter to the centre's crop insurance scheme.

The JD(U), which snapped ties with the RJD last year and returned to the NDA fold, shares power with the BJP in Bihar. But ties between the two have shown signs of strain.

Ahead of Mr Kumar's scheduled participation at a public event in Patna to publicise the achievements of the four-year-old NDA government, his party suggested that the allies were not on the same page on the issue of farmers.

"My worry is that it is not about the fact that there is an agrarian crisis. I think even they (BJP) are aware of it. It's the response which makes us sometime feel that the government can show a little more sensitivity rather than merely indulging in rhetoric about its achievements", said Mr Varma.
rahul gandhi in mandsaur

In Mandsaur, Rahul Gandhi met families of farmers killed in last year's police firing

The JD(U) leader went on to criticise the union agriculture  minister for his comments on the ongoing farmer protest in several states.

"I think I cannot make sense of a statement made by Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh who said this entire farmer protest is a publicity stunt, it was an exceptionally insensitive comment to make", said Mr Varma.

Last week, Mr Singh had called the nationwide agitation by farmers demanding loan waiver and higher price for their produce a move to get "media attention".

"There are crores of farmers in the country but only a few have been staging protest. It has no relevance at all", Mr Singh had said.

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