Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said while the Centre and state governments were trying to dispel farmers' problems, they were being instigated to create unrest, even as his MP counterpart Bhupendra Singh admitted that the five deaths occurred during police firing.
In Naya Gaon, about 70 km from Mandsaur, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, accompanied by senior Congress leaders and the JD (U) s Sharad Yadav, was detained by the police when the opposition leaders tried to make their way from the Rajasthan border to Mandsaur, the ground zero of the farmer protests.
"From 11 am tomorrow I will sit at Dussehra Maidan, people may come and discuss things with me", he said.
They said investigations have found that stone throwers and some anti-social elements had also joined the protest.
"Several important issues including seventh pay scale for employees are pending with the government".
The delegation consisting of Sanjay Singh, Bhagwant Mann, Somnath Bharti, Ashutosh and the party's Madhya Pradesh unit convener Alok Aggarwal sat on a dharna in Dhodhar area of Ratlam district after officials denied them entry into Mandsaur as curfew had been imposed there and told them it would not be safe.
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On the other hand, Opposition parties in Madhya Pradesh criticised the CM for sitting on an indefinite fast "instead of addressing the problem".
Yesterday, the families of the four farmers, who were killed in the police firing in Mandsaur, met Chouhan and requested him to call off his fast. He added, "Our Government will ensure that the farmers get a profitable value on their yield". Debt has been the primary reason behind most farmers taking the extreme step. Farmers have also been forced to sell winter crops, like tomatoes and potatoes, at giveaway prices. Preparations began at BHEL Dussehra Maidan soon after Chouhan declared he will observe a fast.
The Chief Minister said that the Government is ready for dialogue but will not allow anyone to set the State afire at any cost. We can not understand how a chief minister did not have the information of such a massive protest brewing. Successive BJP-led and Congress-led governments deepened these neo-liberal economic reforms at the national and state levels.
He demanded Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan's resignation and also hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for "keeping mum" on the issue. "Farmers' stir is the result of the failure of Chouhan, the state bureaucracy and the police", he alleged. "Two days back, a farmer in Raisen told his daughter not to serve food as he consumed poisonous substance".
The deceased was identified as Ghanshyam Dhaakad, 30, who was injured when a policeman hit him on his head with a baton during a protest in Daloda village in Mandsaur, the worst-hit district in the ongoing agitation, the victim's father said.