Rashmi Rekha Das

Farmers’ issue took the centrestage with both the Bharatiya Janata Party and the ruling Biju Janata Dal hitting the street accusing each other of adopting anti-farmer stand in Centre and in state.

While BJP members blamed the state government for delaying to release crop insurance and input subsidy to the drought-hit farmers and not solving irregularities at Mandis, the BJD members held the BJP-led central government responsible for not hiking the MSP to paddy cultivators. 

As the House remained adjourned, the BJD activists launched a padayatra and marched towards Raj Bhawan demanding a rise of MSP on paddy by the central government. They submitted a memorandum to Governor demanding Rs 2,930 per quintal MSP on paddy.

On the other hand, the BJP members also staged a sit-in ridiculing the state government for its total failure in assisting farmers during their difficult times.

Notably, BJP’s protest has entered eighth day on Friday. 

Targeting the Odisha government, senior BJP parliamentarian Pratap Sarangi said, “Farmers are committing suicide here. Though Odisha farmers are harvesting crops, they are finding it difficult to get a handful of rice. For last 25 years, Odisha farmers have been leading a life of penury. The number of irrigated lands has dwindled like anything. ”

He further accused the state government of distributing fake seeds to farmers. He alleged “The state government is selling those seeds at hefty rates after buying them in cheaper rates. The state has failed to list farmers for Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman.”

BJP MLA Mukesh Mahalinga said, “The ruling BJD government will lose its power for Archana Nag case like Congress had once lost its power for Anjana. You might have heard the news of BJD MLA’s brother being interrogated by Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case. To divert public attention, the government has raised MSP issue. In last eight years, the BJP government has hiked MSP which rose to Rs 240. The BJP government always supports the farmers.”

Congress leader Tara Prasad Bahinipati said, “It’s unfortunate that both BJD government in the state and BJP government in centre are harassing farmers. They are looting crores of rupees from farmers. When Congress raised farmers’ issue, both the parties resorted to protest for fooling farmers.”

Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Pramila Mallick said, “We are always with farmers. The Centre delayed to provide crop insurance and fertilizers on time for which we staged a sit-in.”