Maharashtra: BJP's Yashwant Sinha detained by police over farmer protests
It seems senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha will not stop embarrassing his party anytime soon! After criticizing the Modi-led BJP government over economic policies, Sinha is now leading a protest of cotton and soyabean farmers in Maharashtra, a BJP-ruled state. Subsequently, during the protest, Maharashtra police detained him. Later, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and WB CM Mamata Banerjee tweeted their concerns about the arrest.
Sinha arrived in Akola, Maharashtra to participate in the Kapus Soyabean Dhan (cotton, soyabean, paddy) Parishad. On Monday, while protesting against the government's apathy towards farmers, Sinha and about 250 farmers were detained at 5.30pm. They were later released at about 10pm but they refused to leave. Since then, Sinha has been on a dharna saying that the government fulfill farmers' demands.
Sinha has made seven demands. They include compensation to cotton farmers for losses incurred to crops due to pest infestation, constant power supply to agricultural pumps, action against seed companies manufacturing bogus Bt seeds and purchase of farm produce at the MSP stipulated by NAFED.
The district administration has reportedly accepted six of the seven demands. The demand for purchasing farm produces at the NAFED-stipulated MSP has to be considered by the Central government. Sinha however said BJP-ruled states like MP and Gujarat have been procuring the produce through their own procurement systems. He questioned "Why can't the Maharashtra government then do it?"
Sinha insisted there is nothing "political" about this protest. About why he chose Akola when farmers' distress is throughout the country, Sinha said these farmers met him and told him about their problems. He contended that Vidarbha is known for farmers' suicides and so he sought to agitate for them. Sinha exclaimed that CM Devendra Fadnavis had not reached out yet.
Meanwhile, on hearing about Sinha's arrest, Mamata tweeted "I am concerned about Yashwant Sinhaji former Union Finance Minister in jail. I am sending our MP Dinesh Trivedi to meet him. Yashwant Sinha is fighting for the cause of farmers. He has our full support." Kejriwal also expressed his shock. "Why has Yashwant Sinhaji been arrested? Insane. He should be released immediately," he tweeted.