Madhya Pradesh: CM Shivraj ends his fast

He needed a way out. Despite Chouhan's emotive outreach to farmers, the agrarian activists remained unfazed, promising to escalate their stir if their demands remain unfulfilled. The venue was Dussehra maidan, also the site of his latest fast. He failed badly in curbing massive corruption prevailing from top to bottom when all development funds are virtually looted by politicians and government employees who are not afraid of present government. His ministers also fasted for the day in solidarity with him.

Under fire over the farmers' unrest spiralling out of control, the Chief Minister had last evening announced to go on a fast for "restoration for peace" in the State.

Kamlabai Mewade along with her husband had been beaten up by the police. As for farmers being forced by protesters to throw away milk and vegetables they had grown, he said, " We will find out who was behind the violence that took place during the agitation.

Congress leader and former union minister A.K. Antony said that by apprehending Gandhi and other Congress leaders, the Madhya Pradesh Government had violated the fundamental rights apprised by the Constitution of India. Chouhan's image as the "humble son of a farmer" was built up during campaigning for the polls. "We have made a decision to implement every policy with the consent of farmers", he said before ending the fast.

Meanwhile, Bisen told reporters that the demand for loan waiver "holds no justification as we are taking back loans at a rate of 10 per cent less than the principal amount".

"Instead of solving the farmers' issue, he is demonstrating fasts".

The latest fast was carefully scripted.

Also, there were sporadic incidents of violence in some areas in Sehore where road blockades by farmers led to resorting to lathicharge by police today.

Farmers' protests that started in the state on June 1, demanding better prices for their produce and debt relief, turned violent on June 6 when five farmers were killed in police firing in Mandsaur. "I assure a fair probe into the police firing and promise to bring the culprits to book", he said.

The opposition termed the CM's move a "drama" and criticised his "hypocrisy".

The farmers have run out of cash due to digital payment mode, which is still at a nascent stage in Madhya Pradesh, he said.

When the farmers' stir started, Chouhan's image had taken a severe beating in the media.

Earlier on 4 June, the chief minister had claimed after a meeting with representatives of agitating farmers at Ujjain, that differences with cultivators were ironed out with the RSS' farmers outfit Bharatiya Kisan Sangh even announcing that the strike had been withdrawn. "They are our own".

Chouhan also caught the attention of his party leadership.

The Chief Minister ended his fast for peace by drinking coconut water.

  • Leroy Wright