Bhopal, June 10: Amid the spiralling protest by Madhya Pradesh farmers, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Saturday began his indefinite fast here “until peace is restored”. The opposition has termed Chouhan’s fast a gimmick.
Chouhan’s office will run from the BHEL Dussehra Maidan, where he is on fast, as an open forum where framers and people would be able to approach him.
Preparations began at BHEL Dussehra Maidan soon after Chouhan declared he will observe fast. A temporary residence and a House panel have also been erected, with the deployment of heavy forces at the venue.
After Chouhan reached Dussehra Maidan he addressed his cabinet and other leaders and also held a discussion with them. Chouhan was greeted by the ex-Chief Minister of the state Kailash Joshi.
“Chouhan was supposed to reach the venue at 11.00 a.m. but he got late. He was accompanied by the Principal Secretary and Secretary. The Chief Minister will hold discussions on different schemes launched by the government, including School Chale Hum, he would also review the Kharif produce, issues related to Hamidia Hospital and primarily talking to the farmers,” sources in the administration said.
The opposition has slammed Chouhan’s decision to go on fast. “Instead of indulging in gimmicks Chouhan should seriously address the problems of the farmers,” a Congress official said.
Congress state president Arun Yadav said “This fasting is a farce, being played out by Chouhan. He has never considered visiting the families of the dead farmers in Mandsaur and also the houses of the 25 persons who died in a blast at a fireworks factory.”
Farmers’ protests that started in the state on June 1, demanding better prices for their produce and debt relief, turned violent on June 6 when five farmers were killed in police firing in Mandsaur. The violence has spilled over to several other districts, including in the Malwa-Nimad area and even reached the state capital. Angry farmers have been blocking roads, vandalising property and setting vehicles on fire.