By L.S. Herdenia
BHOPAL: If the Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath carries out his threat of staging a day-long protest fast, along with his ministerial colleagues, at Delhi, it would add a new chapter to the history of confrontation between the Central and the state governments.
The decision to mount the protest in the national capital has been taken because of the delay in sanction of Central aid for alleviating the miseries of the people, particularly the farmers, born out of the torrential rains and floods in many parts of the state. The state government has alleged that the Centre was deliberately delaying the grant of aid.
Nath and all the other ministers will sit on a hunger strike for a day in New Delhi to protest against the Centre’s ‘discrimination” against Madhya Pradesh in granting funds for flood relief.
The state government says that the Narendra Modi Government has released funds for Bihar and Karnataka but not Madhya Pradesh. “The Centre is discriminating against Madhya Pradesh and its 7.5 crore people. More than 55 lakh farmers have been affected by the heavy rains and floods and standing crops on 60 lakh hectares of land have been destroyed,” minister for law and state government spokesperson PC Sharma said.
According to Sharma, “Chief Minister Kamal Nath visited New Delhi twice and personally handed over details of the devastation caused by the floods to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home minister Amit Shah. The Centre has since released funds for flood relief to Karnataka and Bihar but it is delaying financial aid to the people of Madhya Pradesh.”
Hitting out at the state BJP, he said, “MP has sent 28 BJP MPs to Lok Sabha but none of them has raised their voice for financial aid for flood-affected farmers of the state.”
In 2014, the then chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had staged a dharna against the UPA Government in Delhi, alleging that the Centre was apathetic to the plight of the farmers hit by natural calamities in MP.
Now, with the Congress in power here and the BJP at the Centre, chief minister Kamal Nath will lead his 28-member cabinet in the protest in Delhi. “The next course of action would be decided by the chief minister,” Energy minister Priyavrat Singh said. The date of the hunger strike is yet to be finalised.
Sharma said that one lakh houses were washed away in the heavy rains this monsoon and the cumulative damage may be around Rs 16,000 crore. “On October 4, CM Nath went to New Delhi and handed over a memorandum for flood relief to the PM and sought Rs 9,000 crore as financial aid. On October 21, he again went to Delhi and met home minister Amit Shah seeking release of finds. The Centre has provided Rs 1,813 crore as flood relief fund to Karnataka and Bihar. But MP hasn’t got a farthing,” Sharma said.
It is ironic that the state BJP is organising ‘Kisan Akrosh Andolan’ on November 4 to demand compensation for farmers affected by floods, Sharma said, adding that, “Instead, the BJP should protest in New Delhi and ask the Union Government to release funds for MP’s farmers,” Sharma said. Sate BJP vice-president Rameshwar Sharma criticised the move saying that the “Kamal Nath Government made announcements without doing a proper homework. Now, when there is public pressure to fulfil the promises, they are trying to put the blame at the Centre’s door. They are trying to misguide the people. The state government is endeavouring to hide its own inefficiency by levelling baseless accusations against the Centre. Has Kamal Nath formed the government to lead demonstrations? No problem can be resolved through such gimmicks. If they want to demonstrate, they should first quit the government,” he said.
Besides protesting in Delhi, the Congress has also decided to hold protect rallies in all the district headquarters in the state. After the rally, the Congressmen would handover memorandum addressed to the Prime Minister to the local authorities. (IPA Service)