Shivraj Singh Chouhan holds dharna against Centre for farmers’ relief package
Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan began a four-hour-long dharna in Bhopal this morning to register his protest against the Centre’s alleged indifference towards his demand for a relief package of Rs 5000 crore to compensate the farmers for the losses suffered by them because unseasonal rains and hailstorms.
Mr Chouhan, 55, becomes the fourth Chief Minister this year to launch a public protest against the Centre. Arvind Kejriwal set the trend with his 33-hour protest in the heart of the capital in January. Kiran Kumar Reddy came to Delhi in February to hold his “dharna”. Nitish Kumar spent five hours on Sunday protesting in Patna.
Large parts of Madhya Pradesh were hit by unseasonal rains last week, destroying rabi crops. The chief minister has now taken up the cause of the farmers, hoping to divert their anger against the Centre in this election season. He had set March 5 as the deadline for the Centre to accede to his demand, after which, he threatened, he would organize a statewide bandh.
Mr Chouhan has now given a call for a half-day bandh in his state, and is leading the protests by sitting on a dharna in the state capital, alongwith a clutch of ministerial colleagues.
The opposition Congress has termed Mr Chouhan’s action as a “sham,” and has alleged that the Madhya Pradesh chief minister is, in fact, duping the farmers.