Bhubaneswar: As farmer suicides continue unabated, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) which has drawn a lot of flak from opposition parties, on Friday announced that it will organise ‘Chasi Samavesh (farmers rally)’ – a step which is not only seen as an assistance for farmers but also an effort to counter the negative campaigning that has left the party perturbed.
The BJD will organise a huge farmers’ ‘Samavesh’ (rally) on November 19 where lakhs of farmers would participate. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik will address the rally,” senior BJD leader and former minister S N Patro said in a press conference in Bhubaneswar today.
Raising serious concern over the farmer deaths in the State, senior BJD leader Prasanna Acharya said the peasants need to be self-confident. The rally aimed at boosting self-confidence of farmers, he added.
Lambasting Opposition over current farmers’ issue, the former minister said those who are using this sensitive issue to gain political mileage are the real enemy of the farming community. They are trying to create discrimination among common people, Acharya stated.
Congress in its reply to BJD’s step said that after the success of Congress’ ‘padyatra,’ the ruling party is scared and is trying to save its face.
“No party is barred from holding rallies. However, we want the chief minister to answer whether the promises of providing free electricity and subsidized agriculture loans to the farmers have been fulfilled. Moreover, he has to respond and prove the claims made by his party members that the suicides are not agriculture-related. Naveen Patnaik will definitely deserve our appreciation if he is able to answer these questions,” leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra of Congress said.
BJP leader Biswabhusan Harichandan criticized the state government’s callousness and reprimanded it for denying farmer suicides even as around 100 farmers have ended their lives. “There are no policies in place to address the issue and a visit by the chief minister wont solve the problems of the farmers,” he said.
Notably, the State government has 139 blocks spread over 21 districts as drought-affected areas. Moreover, it has announced a drought package worth Rs 1,000 crore and demanded Rs 3,500 crore from the Central government.