BJD tears into BJP over paddy MSP hike issue in New Delhi

Bhubaneswar/New Delhi: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday lashed out at the BJP government at the Centre accusing the saffron party of turning blind to the paddy MSP (minimum support price) demand of the farmers of the State.

Addressing a farmers’ convention (Krushak Adhikar Samabesh) today at Talkatora Stadium in New Delhi, Patnaik said that the BJD was forced to come and hold a demonstration in the national capital due to the sheer apathy of the Centre towards the interests of Odisha farmers.

“We repeatedly appraised the Centre about the need of hike in the paddy MSP for Odisha but the Centre didn’t pay heed to our demand. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi didn’t meet the members of the House Committee formed to discuss the paddy MSP issue with him. After forming the government at the Centre, the BJP forgot all the promises made to the people of Odisha,” alleged Patnaik.

The CM further said that it is the responsibility of the Centre to implement the recommendations of the Swaminathan Committee. “Farmers are the backbone of India’s economy. Odisha government has introduced KALIA scheme in the very interest of its farmers and it will continue to fight for the interests of farmers,” said Patnaik.

Reiterating his demand for financial autonomy, the CM further said: “Had we been given financial autonomy, we would not have to come to New Delhi. We can help the State develop and prosper with its own funds.”

Terming the farmers’ convention of the BJD ‘a big farce’, Odisha Congress chief Niranjan Patnaik said that the BJD should stop shedding crocodile tears in the name of farmers as it (BJD) is equally responsible for destroying the agriculture sector of Odisha.
OPCC Chief Niranjan Patnaik (File Pic)

He said that if the Odisha government had any concerns about the farmers of the State, it would have waived off farm loans alike Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

Criticising the convention, the OPCC chief had earlier tweeted: “Today Naveen Patnaik and Co. are going on a picnic to Delhi which costs Rs 52 lakh. They are doing this in the name of the farmers. Had this money been given to farmers in debt, many precious lives of our annadatas could have been saved.”

On the other hand, members of Prabasi Odia Nagrik Manch today tried to gherao Odisha Bhawan in New Delhi opposing the BJD’s mega farmers’ convention in the national capital.

Moreover, in Odisha, BJP activists and farmers today staged demonstration in Bhubaneswar alleging severe irregularities in paddy procurement in different mandis across the State.

Besides, Naba Nirman Krushak Sangathan (NNKS) took out rally from Old Town in Bhubaneswar to Raj Bhawan protesting the farmers’ convention of the BJD in New Delhi. NNKS alleged that the BJD should stop ‘dramma’ and pay security allowances to farmers.

Later in the day, a BJD delegation led by party supremo and CM Naveen Patnaik met President Ram Nath Kovind and handed him over a memorandum over the paddy MSP hike demand.