Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Sunday called off his indefinite fast in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, a day after he announced it as an attempt to restore peace in the state. He assured the farmers of a profitable price for their produce.
Earlier on Sunday, Chouhan said that through the State Land Use Advisory Service, the government will disseminate timely agricultural information to the farmers. He said the families of those who were killed in the agitation in Mandsaur last week had asked him to discontinue the fast. “One thing that made me emotional was the number of our children that we lost in these protests,” he said while speaking to reporters.
The chief minister further said that when he had fallen asleep “intermittently” during his fast, he had dreamt of the distressed farmers and “kept thinking of ways to solve their problems”. “I have always tried doing a lot for farmers and their problem is ours,” Chouhan said at Dusshera Maidan in the state capital. “They are our own. I also thought upon how to increase the productivity and sustain it.”
Farmers praise Chouhan
Meanwhile, farmers on Sunday praised Chouhan for going on a fast to control the violent situation in Mandsaur, and hoped for a “pro-farmer” decision soon. “We haven’t seen any chief minister keeping a fast for poor farmers,” a farmer told ANI. “This will surely benefit the farmers as well as the chief minister.”
On Saturday, father of a deceased farmer told ANI that they had requested Chouhan to call off his strike. “We don’t think that he is doing any drama,” the farmer said. “He is genuinely concerned about us. We also asked for stern action against the culprits.”
Farmers in Madhya Pradesh have been protesting for more than week. They want fair prices for their produce and loan waivers from the BJP government. At least five of them were killed in Mandsaur when police fired in an effort to quell the protests. On Friday, residents of the Badavan village alleged that one more farmer had died after an assault by police officials. Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi was briefly arrested for attempting to visit Mandsaur on Thursday.