Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj begins 'peace' fast

Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan sat on an indefinite fast at Dussehra Maidan here today for "restoration of peace" amid a farmers' agitation in the state.

The chief minister chose to go on an indefinite fast for peace in the wake of the farmers agitation over better prices and farm loan waiver.

Chouhan started his fast on Saturday in the wake of violence that marred the farmers' protest from June 1, launched to press their demand for debt waiver and better prices for farm produce.

During the later stage of this 10-day farmers' protests, the flames of protest singed the state capital as protesters torched a truck and some other vehicles on the Bhopal-Indore highway.

Expressing grief over the escalating farmers' agitation, the CM said he is open to discussions with them.

"Modi waived off loans worth Rs 150,000 crore for the richest people in India", Gandhi said, "But they can't pay the right price to farmers for their produce, they can't give compensation either".

"I won't sit in my office at Mantralaya (secretariat).but sit at Dussehra Maidan and do all (official) work from there", Chouhan had said.

The video is going to further cement the Bharatiya Janata Party's ( BJP) allegation that the " Congress is instigating the farmers for political gains". In his address, Chouhan said, "It is okay to protest if the government doesn't listen".

He said the irrigation facility has increased manifold and due to abundant water, farmers were reaping rich harvest.

Chouhan said the Government had extended Rs4,800 crore as relief amount to farmers when their soyabean crop was destroyed a year ago.

The UP BJP government's decision to write off farm loans to fulfill its poll promise has prompted the community in other BJP ruled states to make similar demands which are hard for regimes to deliver owing to severe burden on the exchequre. Earlier, the chief minister along with his wife spent the whole night in the waterproof dome built for the occasion amid heavy downpour. Now, that peace seems to have returned in the state, he has ended his fast.

Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Ajay Singh said: "While the farmers in the state are on the roads with their demands, the Chief Minister has got down to this "nautanki" (drama)".

People can approach and discuss their issues with him. Normalcy has returned in most of the farmer's agitation affected areas in the state barring some isolated incidents. Farmer leaders, however, put the deaths at eight.

A photo of an 80-year-old woman being beaten up by cops during the ongoing farmers' protest in Madhya Pradesh went viral on Twitter on Saturday. "So the state can not move ahead without the farmers", he said.

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