Bhopal, Nov 4 (IANS) Monday turned out to be unusually chaotic in Madhya Pradesh with both the ruling and opposition parties hitting the street protesting against each other over the plight of farmers in the state.
After a slow start the BJP’s protests gathered steam and it confronted the authorities in most districts by mobilising large crowds. Reports from Gwalior, Jabalpur, Indore, Ujjain and Bhopal show BJP had been able to prove at least one point, the Congress can’t match the BJP when it comes to organising rallies.
The BJP protested against high electricity bill and the state government’s failure to compensate the farmers while the Congress organised sit-in against the central government accusing it of discriminating while offering assistance to the famers distressed by long spells of heavy rain. While the Centre was quick to address the issues concerning BJP-ruled states like Karnataka, Maharashtra and Bihar farmers were in Madhya Pradesh were being overlooked.
Senior BJP leaders led the protests at major district and divisional headquarters burning electricity bills and raising slogans against the Kamal Nath government. Former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan led the protests at Rewa, leader of the opposition Gopal Bhargava at Bhopal, natonal vice-president Kailash Vijayvargiya at Ujjain and Indore, Vivek Shejwalkar at Gwalior and BJP state president Rakesh Singh led the protests at Jabalpur.
At Ujjain the BJP workers scored on optics by taking out a black umbrella march. There were fewer workers but the umbrella march caught the television cameramen’s eye for a wider coverage.
There were histrionics with Kailash Vijayvargiya being arrested at Indore. His supports damaged the police van and pulled him out of it before the police took him away in a bus.
Higher Education Minister Jitu Patwari targeted former Chouhan saying he was shedding crocodile tears here while he should have protested against the Centre in Delhi. Rakesh Singh, on the other hand, said the Centre has already extended the assistance state government is denying to have received.
The Congress workers presented memoranda addressed to the President to all collectors. They also addressed press conferences at all district headquarters. The protesters of both parties defied section 144 that was in force all over the state.
State Congress Committee Vice President of Media wing Abhay Dubey, PCC Media Coordinator Narendra Saluja and PCC State Spokesperson JP Dhanopia said that crop worth Rs 16,000 crore has been damaged in 60 lakh hectare due to excessive rainfall in the state but the Centres is acting with political rancour in denying the State its share State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF).
The central government has not yet provided any money from the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) to compensate for the damage caused by the extreme natural calamity in Madhya Pradesh, while states like BJP-ruled Karnataka and Maharashtra get Rs 2411 and 2500 crore respectively.
The Congress claimed that 19,000 school buildings, 17,000 Anganwadis, 1.20 lakh houses have suffered complete and partial damage. Also, about 11,000 km of roads have been damaged and 647 people have lost their lives due to extreme rainfall. Chief Minister Kamal Nath had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and demanded a relief package of Rs 6621 crore for the state which not been received so far.
Congress leaders said that in the event of a natural disaster in the federal structure, the state is given funds from the NDRF and SDRF by the central government. The central government has reduced the state’s share of the NDRF. The central government is not giving funds from the NDRF to the Congress-ruled Madhya Pradesh.
The Congress alleges that the 28 BJP MPs returned by the state have remained mute spectators to the farmers’ woes in the state. So far, only Rs 247 crore has been provided by the Centre from the Disaster Fund.