Bhopal: As Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan began his fast to placate angry farmers, the agriculture minister in his government, Gaurishankar Bisen, surprised many by claiming that the state government won’t waive off farm loans.
“Why would we waive off farm loans if we are not charging the farmers any interest,” Bisen told reporters.
His comment contradicts Chouhan’s statement a day before wherein the CM had said he was open for a dialogue with farmers. It is likely to fuel the anger among farmers a day after a debt-ridden farmer from Raisen committed suicide.
The state government is under fire over the death of six people in police firing during the farmers’ protest in Mandsaur district. The deaths and the eventual flip-flop over the police action has fuelled farmers’ protests in several other states as well.
Chouhan had announced his ‘peace fast’ at a hurriedly convened press conference at his official residence on Friday evening.
The Congress has dubbed the fast as a farce, with senior party leader Mukesh Nayak calling Chouhan “another Kejriwal”.
State Congress chief spokesperson KK Mishra said Chouhan should tell people whether his so-called fast is a "nautanki" (drama), an event or an act of repentance for his misdeeds that "set the state on fire".