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Shivraj observes fast to restore 'peace', Congress slams him

13 Juin 2017

Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Sunday ended his fast that began on Saturday to restore peace amid farmers' agitation in the state.

Families of five farmers who were killed in the police firing during the last week's protest in Mandsaur, had last night asked him to call off his fast.

Under fire over the farmers' unrest spiralling out of control, the Chief Minister had last evening announced to go on a fast for "restoration for peace" in the State.

After Chouhan reached Dussehra Maidan he addressed his cabinet and other leaders and also held a discussion with them. By the time veteran BJP leader Kailash Joshi offered him coconut water with which he broke his fast, senior party leaders including Union minister Thawar Chand Gehlot, state BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya and Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar had visited him at the site.

Commenting about the amenities provided to him in the tent he has made a stay in for the fasting period, he said, "I was told that this was a five-star tent".

A joint-committee comprising government officials and farmers will finalize the conditions and details of the farm loan waiver, he added. Scindia, MP from Guna constituency of Madhya Pradesh will protest against the "anti-farmer policies" of the BJP government in the state.

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Earlier on 4 June, the chief minister had claimed after a meeting with representatives of agitating farmers at Ujjain, that differences with cultivators were ironed out with the RSS' farmers outfit Bharatiya Kisan Sangh even announcing that the strike had been withdrawn.

Mandsaur, the epicentre of the farmers' agitation in Madhya Pradesh, remained peaceful today with authorities relaxing curfew for 12 hours from 8 am to 8 pm.

The farmers' agitation was marred by violence on June 6 when they pelted stones at the police.

"I appeal to the people, farmers to come to the negotiating table", he said.

Jaitley also said that the government is "actively working" towards consolidation of state-owned banks. While initially the farmers destroyed produce and drained milk, the protests became more violent as vehicles were torched. Preparations began at BHEL Dussehra Maidan soon after Chouhan declared he will observe a fast. "I will put forth the issues of the farmers before the departments concerned".

The opposition parties described Chouhan's plan to sit on fast a "drama" and "hypocrisy". "They were definitely not farmers but Shaitan (devils) and haivan (beasts) who tried to defame Madhya Pradesh and they will not be spared", Chouhan was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.

Shivraj observes fast to restore 'peace', Congress slams him