Ahmedabad: Gujarat Congress threatened to disrupt the forthcoming 'Vibrant Gujarat Summit' on Thursday, if both the Centre as well as the state government did not solve the issue of Minimum Support Price (MSP) of cotton within eight days.
During a press conference today, Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) president Arjun Modhwadia alleged that when farmers are forced to commit suicide, the entire state government machinery is busy in appeasing businessmen.
The Summit is scheduled to take place between January 11 and January 13 next year in Gandhinagar which would be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"Yesterday, three farmers in Saurashtra region committed suicide due to low MSP of cotton. Their deaths had shaken the entire nation. However, it seems that the government is only concerned about how to keep businessmen happy. Their only focus is Vibrant Gujarat Summit," Modhwadia said.
"The Gujarat state government announced a package of Rs 1,100 crore merely to supress the farmers' movement, so that, it does not affect the summit. However, we want the government to first solve this issue before the summit. Otherwise, the Congress along with farmers will disrupt the event," Modhwadia said.
"We demand that government must pay Rs 10 lakh as compensation to the kin of each farmer who committed suicide. We want the government to give Rs 1,100 per 20 kg as MSP for cotton, which is only Rs 800 at present. We are giving the state government eight days' time. If they fail to resolve the issue, we will start a statewide agitation," Modhwadia warned.
He also took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the MSP issue and asked him to fulfill his promises.
"During election campaigns, he used to say 'Bahot padi kisan ko maar, abki baar Modi sarkar'. Now, when he is in power, we expect him to intervene and fulfil his promises, but we learnt that he has refused to give any help to farmers through subsidy," Modhwadia alleged.
He was accompanied by Leader of Opposition (LoP) Shankersinh Vaghela, former LoP Shaktisinh Gohil and former GPCC President Siddharth Patel.
Vaghela, who was union textiles minister in the UPA government in 2004, claimed that the country's agriculture sector has been ruined by the present BJP government at the Centre.
"In his dying declaration, that young farmer (Arvind) said that BJP leaders have a Hitler-like mentality. Under BJP rule, farmers are left with no other option other than ending their lives. We hope that the government does something to ensure that no other farmer is compelled to take such extreme steps," Vaghela said.
"When the PM (Modi) took over the reins, he declared that 2014 will be celebrated as Krishi Vikas Varsh, but it seems that the country's agriculture sector has been ruined in 2014. I also urge the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh not to backstab farmers on the MSP issue," Vaghela said.