Dr. Singhvi said BJP has almost been acting like a curse of death for Indian farmers, literally – not figuratively. Distressed farmers are viewed by heartless BJP virtually as fodder for opening fire upon and on the one hand the farmers are toiling, on the other hand the BJP is killing or opening fire upon the ‘Sons of the Soil’.
What was sad and sorry was not merely the terrible deaths and opening of fire in Mandsaur. As you know 6 farmers lost their lives, 8 others have been injured but what was particularly insulting and sad was the complete denial, ostrich in the sand like denial and if it was not tragic it would be amusing, the denial was that there was no firing at all. For a long time we got a denial, there is no firing at all as if there was firing from the sky or automatic firing from the ground but ultimately even the Home Minister of Madhya Pradesh accepts that the authorities – the Police – did fire on the farmers although I repeat, sadly and insultingly there was denial first.
Shri Rahul Gandhi wanted to go and express solidarity with the bereaved but was denied permission and instead a canard and rumours were spread. Former Member of Parliament Ms. Meenakshi Natarajan was arrested. All this is not just limited to Mandsaur.
One of the largest agricultural State, Maharashtra has been virtually on strike for over five days rather touching a week. Have you ever heard of internet being stopped outside Kashmir violence? I want to ask you how many times internet has been disconnected. I have never heard of internet disconnected for farmers’ protest. That is what this Government is doing.
The Government is not looking at their demands, it is turning a deaf ear, it is not giving a healing touch. On top of that, it is throttling their voice. It is preventing communication. Take any criterion – adequate ‘Fair Price for their crops’, ‘Doubling their farm income’,’ Fasal Bima Yojana’ – none of them have come true. And you have to see it in the context that demonetization – most and foremost – hit the farmers. It hit everybody but it hit the farmers the most. It reduced their incomes by 50% minimum – some people estimate it to be at 70%. They were forced to destroy the produce in their fields and throw them on road. This you are still seeing in parts of Maharashtra.
Maharashtra incidentally tops the list of farmers’ suicides. In 2015, the astonishing number of 4291 suicides in Maharahstra – roughly 12 per day, Madhya Pradesh – yesterday’s place of incident – had 1290 farmers’ suicides annually – roughly 4 per day. Of course, the All India average is extremely sorry figure – 35 farmers’ suicides per day.
To add insult to injury, to insult the intelligence of farmers and to insult the public of India, the Central Government, today releases two page advertisements in all the Newspapers and it is really like turning the knife in the wound, repeatedly. It claims these are benefits we have brought in three years and similar ads are released in Madhya Pradesh Newspapers ironically just below the reporting of this terrible incident of Mandsaur firing. It is depictive of the most insensitive Government approach.
We want to ask the Prime Minister many questions but I will limit it to two or three.
First – why has the Prime Minister, yet 24 hours or 36 hours after the tragedy – not said a word about the terrible tragedy in Mandsaur.
Second – this lot of ‘Hoopla’ and ‘Hullah-Gullah’ about starting ‘Kisan DD Channel’. Mr. Prime Minister – did the ‘Kisan DD Channel’ or ‘DD Kisan Channel’ show this Mandsaur incident?
Third – Mr. Prime Minister in case you have forgotten – there is small little booklet which you proudly called ‘BJP Manifesto’, at ‘Page 44 of your own BJP Manifesto’ – in case you have forgotten – where you have made a solemn promise that we give MSP + 50% profit. It is written in black and white in your Manifesto.
On MSP your same Government, shortly after winning the election on this Manifesto, made a statement on Affidavit in the Hon’ble Supreme Court that it is not possible to give this price.
Mr. Prime Minister, Mr. BJP you have forgotten the word ‘Agriculture’ in your craze for anti-Congress culture. That is the only culture you remember. The ‘NAMO Policy’ apparently stands for ‘NAMO’ – No Agriculture-Mal-Governance only’.
This agitation is not limited to Mandsaur – it has spread from Mandsaur to Dewas because you cannot fodder a spontaneous agitation but more than that you cannot throttle pain which is genuine – from Mandsaur to Dewas, from Dewas to Ratlam, Dhar, Neemuch – many Districts.
Dr. Singhvi further said that this cold-blooded murder, attempt and murder of farmers yesterday come from the same State which has become famous for VYAPAM which affected 77 lakh lives and took over 50 deaths in that scam.
Dr. Singhvi said the farmers have not been killed only by bullets but they have been killed and they have been lynched and they have been shamed by pages upon pages of lies published in Government advertisements. This is one of the most pitiable situations and I conclude on three points –
Ground reality of facts and figures which we have given you in Booklet which has been circulated and otherwise also you have, on any of the four or five parameters is distressing.
Physical mal-treatment of which you have seen the worst example yesterday in Mandsaur.
Complete abdication of promises including written promises in written Manifesto.
Continuing eloquent silence, imperious, arrogant, eloquent silence of the Hon’ble Prime Minister.
On the question that BJP is saying that the Congress Party is only looking for Photo-Opportunity, Dr. Singhvi said I think this kind of cheap insensitive political statement ought not to be dignified by a reply. We do not give these kind of cheap political statements like BJP in the context of such deaths of poor farmers struggling or which they are thinking of, did it make for a very nice photo opportunity to see these deaths and firing. Attend to your own photo opportunity within your own State first.
He further said that he has no doubt that the thick-skinned political management and dispensation we have in BJP-ruled States completely insensitive, completely thick-skinned, and completely uncaring- these kinds of demands are worse than water off a duck’s back.
The resignations you are talking happen when there is self-respect. When there is a feeling of empathy, even merely some sympathy – none of these adjectives apply to the BJP-ruled State Governments insensitive administration.