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Shivraj begins fast for peace, farmers launch counter-protest

20 June 2017

"I appeal to the people, farmers to come to the negotiating table", he said, adding people's safety is my "Rajdharma" and I am not flint-hearted.

The state government has accused the Congress of making an otherwise peaceful farmers' agitation descend into lawlessness. "I know your problems", he said.

Farmers in Madhya Pradesh's Mandsaur district have been protesting for better prices for their produce and loan waiver.

Chouhan, clad in kurta-pajama and a Nehru jacket, sat on fast at a pandal erected at Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited's Dussehra Maiden here at around 11 am after former chief minister Kailash Joshi put a "tilak" on his forehead. 'He (Modi) tweets immediately on issues from all over the world but has not uttered a single word in solidarity with the farmers in Mandsaur, ' Singh said.

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According to some reports, a section of the BJP believes that the farmers' agitation is part of a grand strategy of the Opposition as it was planned at a time when farmers across the country don't generally work on their farms and are not engaged in agricultural activities.

After protests became rough across the state post the firing, the Chief Minister began what came to be dubbed a "peace fast". He said Chouhan should tell what he was atoning for by undertaking the fast.

The chief minister would hold talks with farmers on Sunday as well. We haven't seen any chief minister keeping a fast for poor farmers.

"The home ministry is in touch with the neighbouring states of Madhya Pradesh and asked them to keep strict vigil on the prevailing situation", a home ministry official said.

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"Shivraj Singh Chouhan's fast is a drama.It is a sham, he should answer why a case of murder has not been filed in the death of five farmers in Madhya Pradesh", party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told reporters here. Only 20 per cent of farmers were loan defaulters and efforts will be made to bring them under the interest-free loan beneficiaries category.

Farmers unrest in Madhya Pradesh is growing every day and has reached even the door step of Bhopal, the state capital. "Your labour won't go to waste", the CM said.

Meanwhile, police apprehended 48 Congress workers including seven women when they were marching towards BHEL Dussehra Maidan where the CM is sitting on a fast.

A 26-year-old farmer died in Badavan village of the district, with locals alleging on Friday that he was beaten up by policemen.

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Shivraj begins fast for peace, farmers launch counter-protest