Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today announced formation of a six-member high powered committee to look into the various demands of farmers, including a loan waiver.
The panel, headed by senior BJP minister Chandrakant Patil, will submit its report to the state government after holding discussions with farmers’ leaders, an official said.
A minister said that it was an attempt by Fadnavis to “deflect” the focus of farmers’ agitation from himself to Patil, whose name recently cropped up as a possible successor to the CM in case of a change of leadership in the state.
Fadnavis has been the target of opposition ire over the ongoing farmers’ stir.
The panel also comprises senior Shiv Sena minister Diwakar Raote, who termed it an “excellent ploy” by Fadnavis to blunt the bickering ally’s criticism over the handling of the farmers agitation.
The other members of the panel are agriculture minister Pandurang Fundkar, finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, cooperation minister Subhash Deshmukh and water resources minister Girish Mahajan.
The committee will hold discussions with farmers’ leaders and submit a proposal to the state government.
With the formation of the group, Fadnavis will not be in the picture directly as far as holding talks with farmers’ leaders are concerned. The focus will now shift on how Patil tackles the demands of farmers’ leaders.
Fadnavis, by inducting Raote, has also taken the sheen off the Sena attack and their grievance that they were not taken into confidence.
“Shiv Sena leaders, henceforth, will not be able to criticise the government over farmers’ issues as its leader is now a part of the group set up for proposing the solutions,” the minister said.
On June 1, farmers from a village in Ahmednagar district went on strike followed by many farmers groups in other parts, who tried to suspend vegetable and milk supply to Mumbai.
Fadnavis had held a late night meeting and ensured withdrawal of the strike, but it emerged that some of the farmers’ leaders who were part of the talks with him in Mumbai, were close to BJP and RSS. This outraged farmers and their agitation intensified in the following days.
Two days ago, a farmer in Solapur district, before ending his life due to debt, wrote that unless the chief minister visits his farm, his body should not be cremated.