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Facing Heat, Maharashtra BJP Chief Regrets Comments on Farmers

Under attack from the Opposition over his comments against farmers, Maharashtra BJP chief Raosaheb Danve on Thursday expressed regret over what he said but asserted that he has always been a farmers' sympathiser.


Updated:May 11, 2017, 6:05 PM IST
Image for representation only
Image for representation only.

Mumbai: Under attack from the Opposition over his comments against farmers, Maharashtra BJP chief Raosaheb Danve on Thursday expressed regret over what he said but asserted that he has always been a farmers' sympathiser.

Danve expressed regret on a day when the state Congress threatened to launch an agitation against him over his remarks on 'tur dal' growers.

The ruling ally Shiv Sena also held demonstrations in different parts of the state against Danve's remarks.

Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee president Ashok Chavan had earlier in the day told reporters that his party would launch a statewide stir from tomorrow against Danve's "derogatory" comments.

He also demanded an apology from the BJP over Danve's remarks against the farmers.

Danve stirred up a controversy on Wednesday saying that farmers continued to complain despite the state government doling out sops to help tur growers, hit by dip in prices due to increased output.

"The state government has so far procured the highest amount of tur in the history and it is going to purchase additional one lakh tonne, still some (referring to farmers) continue to complain," he said at Jalna in Marathwada.

Danve was replying to a question by a BJP worker who had asked him how he should respond to the farmers on delayed tur procurement issue.

Danve in a statement said, "I was trying to convince my party worker regarding the tur procurement issue.

It was just a dialogue between me and the party worker. I did not use any cuss-word against farmers. But, somehow, farmers are hurt and I express my regrets."

"No need to link the dialogue between me and my party worker with farmers," he said.

"I am a son of farmer and I know the farmers' plight. I have been taking the farmers' side in my 35-year-long political career. I cannot use a cuss-word against the farmers," he said.

This happened at a meeting called for expanding the BJP's base in rural areas to commemorate the death anniversary of late Deendayal Upadhyay, he said.

"Issues like party workers visiting rural areas, holding dialogue with farmers were being discussed at the meeting. It was also decided to talk only about the three years of the BJP-led government at the centre and completion of two-and-a- half years in the state.

"Still, a party worker raised the issue of delayed procurement of tur and I was trying to convince him of the recent decisions of the state. It was just a dialogue between us and no need to link it with farmers," he said.

Seizing on the issue, Chavan said Danve has insulted the farmers when the government is not procuring their produce and also not announcing a loan waiver to help them tide over the crisis resulting out of drought conditions, unseasonal rains and lack of good market price for their produce.

"Important leaders in the ruling party are making irresponsible statements," he said.

"This is nothing but sheer arrogance. Power has gone to their heads. By abusing farmers, Danve has added insult to the injury," Chavan said.

Slamming Danve, Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam said in a tweet, "...he first abused the farmers and then cursed too. This is the true face of the BJP. The anti-farmer BJP."

Opposition leader in the state Assembly, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, also joined the issued questioning the "silence" of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on the comments made by Danve.

"Fadnavis claims to be working for the welfare of farmers and makes new announcements every day. On the other hand, the state BJP president Raosaheb Danve is hurting the sentiments of farmers. This double standard should be condemned in the most severe terms," he told reporters here.

Vikhe Patil demanded that the chief minister should clear air on Danve's remarks.

Meanwhile, the ruling partner Shiv Sena held protests against Danve in Osmanabad, Shirdi, Wani in Yavatmal,

Ahmednagar, Hingoli and also at Dombivali in Thane. "Danve's comments are unfortunate. There is widespread

anger amongst farmers. Through their protests, the farmers have only expressed their angst towards anti-farmer people," Sena leader Anil Parab said.

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| Edited by: Ashish Yechury
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