Shivraj begins fast for peace, farmers launch counter-protest

The Chief Minister had earlier said he lived for the state's people and the farmers and would also die for them.

"My fast will continue till there is peace in the entire state". Many senior party leaders were present on this occasion.Union ministers Narendra Singh Tomar and Thawarchand Gehlot, BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya were present.All the leaders appealed Mr Chouhan to break the fast.

Chouhan, who had gone on a freakish fast seemingly against himself and his government, had to find a desperate way out from it as the BJP seemingly hung him out to dry.

After coming to power, the state government formed an expert group under the chairmanship of T Haque, a former chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices, to assess the quantum of agricultural debt and suggest ways and means for farm debt waiver.

Curfew was on Saturday lifted from Mandsaur city as the district, the epicentre of the farmers' agitation in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, remained peaceful though the restrictions on assembly would remain in force. She said that the cops had forcibly entered her house while chasing down the protesters from a farmers' rally on Friday at Phanda Kalan village near Sehore. Later, protests spread to some other parts of the State.

In the last 10 days, farmers have resorted to violence during their stir for various demands, including a complete loan waiver.

He added that Madhya Pradesh "cannot progress without its farmers", that his government will offer them the best prices for their produce and that "no land will be acquired without the consent of farmers". "I am indebted & grateful to them", the Chief Minister's office tweeted.

He said, "People whose property & vehicles have been charred & vandalised will be provided with compensation".

The situation escalated when five farmers died on the spot and another farmer, who was allegedly detained by police died on Friday at a hospital. "Farmers and their betterment was, is and will always be this government's top priority", he added.

Before ending his 28-hour fast, Chouhan announced a slew of measures for the benefit of farmers and declared purchase of any farm produce below the minimum support price will be treated as crime. But with the announcement and the drama, Shivraj has certainly moved the attention from the farmer problem towards himself, and that is going to serve him a momentary relief.

Patkar said, "We are being told that if we go to Mandsaur, peace may get disturbed".

  • Leroy Wright