Bhopal: With the Lok Sabha polls right around the corner, the Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh on Thursday decided to expedite the withdrawal of cases slapped against farmers in the last 15 years. The party has also said it would take up the legal battle for those who were already convicted by the courts.
The decision was taken on Wednesday by a committee comprising state home minister Bala Bachchan, parliamentary affairs minister Dr Govind Singh and law minister PC Sharma after it held a meeting with farmers’ representatives in Bhopal.
During an interaction with media in Bhopal, Sharma announced the party’s decision and said the visiting peasants claimed the convictions in the cases slapped by the BJP government have begun and some of their fellow farmers were recently punished by the court in Dewas.
“It was then decided that process of withdrawing cases, including political ones, lodged against farmers would be expedited and in those instances where the farmers concerned have been convicted by the courts, the Congress would be fighting their cases in courts,” said the law minister, adding in 2017, close to 3,000 farmers were slapped with different cases in a single month.
Before making the final decision, the committee had consulted officers of the concerned departments and also briefed chief minister Nath on the same, said Sharma.
Upon being asked whether it was a ploy to appease farmers especially after the Congress government could not complete loan waiver promise ahead of Lok Sabha polls, Sharma said to News18 contested that agriculture loan of 25 lakh farmers has been already waived off out of the 55 lakh farmers. Therefore, the loan was not an issue for the party.
Adding that the BJP had lodged thousands of cases on farmers and now that they are convicted, the minister said the party would appeal in higher courts to ensure justice.
“Cases, where the farmers were booked under various charges for raising their demands including better prices for their crops, would be withdrawn.”
Asked if the latest move would ensure support of farmers in the upcoming general elections, the minister claimed the Congress government has already done a lot including waiving off farm loans of farmers, hiking financial assistance for poor girls’marriages, stipend for youths, doubling pension, sending pilgrims to Mahakumbh and slashing the electricity bills by half. He also asked on what parameters the BJP would be demanding votes.
Saying that there is no breaching of model code of conduct, the law minister said the cases were already pending in courts and it is the Congress which would be fighting their cause.