Dama’s remark over farmers’ death sparks off political slugfest

Bhubaneswar: While the rising trend of farmer suicide cases in State has become a major cause of concern for the government, BJD vice president and Cooperation and Excise minister Damodar Rout, who has always been in debate for his controversial remarks, has once again thrown another absurd statement over the sensitive issue triggering a political storm as well as embarrassment for his own party.

The senior leader of the ruling party termed the farmers and tribal of Odisha are self-esteemed people who usually do not commit suicide. “Neither the farmers of Odisha commit suicide nor the tribal beg for livelihood. They are self respected persons for which Odisha has gained name and fame across the globe. Those raking up farmer suicide issues to gain political mileage, are out to denigrate the dignity of Odisha”, he pointed out.

Such a remark of the former Agriculture minister has sparked political slugfest with Congress demanding a Whit Paper while the BJP sees it as an attempt of Rout to make his party supremo and chief minister accountable to the large scale death of farmers. “If the government issues a White Paper, the reasons of farmers’ death would be clear. Can Dr Rout make on-the-spot investigation and interact with the family members of the deceased farmers? asked Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president Prasad Harichandan.

BJP spokesperson Suresh Pujari said “The farmers are committing suicide to get rid of the loan burden. Here, Damodar Rout has given a sign through his remark that chief minister himself is responsible for the peasants’ death”.

Notably, suicide spree of the farmers continues unabated in the State with four more cases reported from Balangir, Mayurbhanj, Cuttack and Koraput districts on Saturday due to alleged crop loss and debt burden.