Madhav Bhandari said that storing grains and not selling them will only cause losses to farmers.
After farmers in Maharashtra went on an indefinite strike today to demand a crop loan waiver and better procurement prices, state BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari trashed their strike and reportedly said the government "stands to lose nothing" and will remain "unnerved".
"Storing grains and not selling them will only cause losses to farmers. The government will not lose anything," he said.
On Tuesday, various farmer bodies of the state met Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, but the talks failed. As a result, a section of farmers from Ahmednagar district called a strike and threatened to stop supply of milk, fruits, poultry and vegetables to Mumbai and other cities to press for their demands. They also emptied huge containers of milk and dumped fruits and vegetables on roads in protest.
Karan Gaykar of Kisan Kranti Morcha, a farmers' body which is leading the protests, and believed to be close to the Shiv Sena, told reporters, "Our strike is successful. All APMCs have supported us. We demand that the government gives attention to farmers' demands. We are not getting anything for our produce so what's the point of selling it."
The morcha has given the government two days to act on this issue.
Taking exception to Mr Bhandari's comments, Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) spokesperson Sachin Sawant said his remarks reflect the ruling BJP's "anti-farmer" stand.
"Farmers are going on strike today as they are in a situation in which they have never been before. Even if the BJP doesn't need farmers, the country needs them. The whole of Maharashtra belongs to them," he said.
Mr Sawant said farmers "will show the BJP that they don't need them". "We condemn the statement made by the BJP leader," he added.
The farmers are demanding a complete waiver of farm loans, free electricity, appropriate remunerative prices for their produce, irrigation grants and higher price for milk and implementation of the MS Swaminathan Committee recommendations.(With inputs from PTI)