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Published On: Tue, Dec 5th, 2017

BJP’s Yashwant Sinha detained by police over farmer protests

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129_3221512480812MUMBAI : 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.
Yashwant Sinha is leading a protest by hundreds of cotton and soyabean farmers who are demanding compensation for damage to crops by pests. They also want the government to procure the entire crop produced by a farmer.
A senior police officer said Mr Sinha and about 250 farmers were detained at around 5:30 pm on Monday for blocking a road for over three hours and to prevent them from surrounding the district collector’s office. He said they were released at around 9:50 pm but had refused to leave.
Later, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and WB CM Mamata Banerjee tweeted their concerns about the arrest.  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?”
No politicsSinha denied that his agitation has political overtones 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. CMsMeanwhile, CMs Kejriwal and Mamata tweeted their support

“Despite the police announcing that we all have been released from detention we decided to stay here… we will go wherever the police will take us, but till all our demands are met… our protest will continue,” Mr Sinha said on Tuesday afternoon. 79-year-old leader sleeping on a wooden cot in the open ground last night, surrounded by farmers.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has tweeted, “I am concerned about @YashwantSinha Ji former Union Finance Minister in jail. I am sending our MP Dinesh Trivedi to meet him. @YashwantSinha is fighting for the cause of farmers. He has our full support.”
Pavan K Verma, who is the national spokesperson of the Janata Dal (United), a BJP ally, said it was “worrying that senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha has been arrested in Akola, Maharashtra, on orders of a BJP government, for the crime of protesting against the administration’s apathy towards cotton and soybean farmers in Vidarbha.”
According to the senior BJP leader he has had no word with his party colleague and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. “Neither has he reached out to me, nor have I tried to talk to him,” he said, adding that his protest is not political.

“I will not get involved in party politics. The important thing is that farmers get relief… I don’t want to get diverted from the farmer’s issue. This has nothing to do with any politics,” he asserted.

Mr Sinha, whose son Jayant Sinha is a minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, is seen as a dissenter in the BJP, often taking a contrarian view. Most recently he said the implementation of new national tax GST by the centre was flawed.

In his speech to the farmers on Monday, he said, “Before coming to power, the BJP had promised to give 50 per cent over and above the minimum support price (MSP). But after coming to power, the party forgot the promise.”
District Magistrate Aastik Kumar Pande told reporters, “Yashwant Sinha and the Shetkari Jagaran Manch were protesting in Akola, they were on a dharna. We tried discussing the issue with him but he continued to the dharna so he was detained by the police. We have accepted six of his seven demands and promised discussion on the seventh demand.”

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