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    BJP set to launch mega farmers' outreach in Bengal


    The BJP plans to launch a two-week programme in West Bengal to reach out to farmers, even as the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress continues to attack it on the way it handles farmer issues.

    Kolkata: The BJP plans to launch a two-week programme in West Bengal to reach out to farmers, even as the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress continues to attack it on the way it handles farmer issues.

    The outreach programme will be launched during BJP president JP Nadda’s visit to the state this weekend, and party leaders aim to reach out to at least 100 farmer households in every village under it.

    Nadda will visit Katwa in the East Burdwan district, known as Bengal’s rice bowl, on Saturday and is likely to talk to farmers on the new farm laws. Soon after, the party will launch the outreach drive titled "Krishok Surokha Abhiyan" (Farmers Safety Campaign) across the state, as part of which BJP leaders will carry out gram sabhas in more than 40,000 villages, talking to farmers about their struggles.

    Nearly 50,000 farmers will also be given a "Krishok Surokha card" which has a pledge by BJP leaders committing to work for farmers’ welfare, and a letter addressed to farmers by Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh. At the end of the campaign, the party will host a meal for farmers and their families, a party functionary said.

    There are 71 lakh farmer families in West Bengal and 95% of these are of small and marginal farmers, the functionary said. "With this campaign, we want to send them a message that the party is mindful of their struggles and committed to resolving them when it comes to power. We will also collect a bowl of rice from them as a symbol of our commitment to their welfare," the functionary added.

    As part of the campaign, party leaders will also visit farmer families door-to-door and highlight the measures taken by the BJP-ruled Centre to improve the lives of farmers.

    The party has assigned state general secretary and Hooghly MP Locket Chatterjee the task of overseeing the new outreach initiative.

    The campaign comes at a time when there is a tussle going on between the Centre and the state government over the release of funds under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi programme to farmers of West Bengal.

    The BJP has accused the TMC of depriving farmers of the financial benefits released by the Centre, and the TMC accusing the BJP of lying about it. The TMC has said that it would bring a resolution at the West Bengal legislative assembly against the three farm laws of the Centre.

    Chief minister Mamata Banerjee has lent her support to the farmers protesting against the farm laws and had even sent a team of her party MPs to meet them at the Singhu border of Delhi.

    Commenting on the BJP's campaign, TMC MP Saugata Roy said the outreach will have no impact as the farmers of the state are facing no problems. "Mr Nadda and other BJP leaders should go to the Singhu border where there are farmers protesting for days. Are they coming here to instigate the farmers? That won't happen. The farmers here have no issues and the state government has taken care of their interests," Roy said.

    Experts ET spoke to said apart from poor cold storage and irrigation facilities, scant pricing support, commission demanded by middlemen and collapse of the procurement systems are the problems being faced by the farmers of West Bengal.

    “Irrespective of what the government claims, agricultural growth has slowed down in the state. Over 230 farmers have committed suicide in the last ten years. Both the Centre and state don't want to talk about the farm distress in the state," CPM's Mohammed Salim told ET.
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    1 Comment on this Story

    Vedavyasa H. Joshi55 days ago
    There is a lopsided picture as if all farmer's movement in electronic media is up in arm against BJP Govt. This outreach of BJP to farmers will dilute this perception & make Punjabi farmers realize that projection of themselves a larger than life picture is not sustainable. Such a change in attitude will make farmers & Govt come to a mutually agreed stand to resolve the stand-off. Besides this, Bharatiya Kisan Sanghatan is also planning to hold a rally in support of the 3 laws passed by the Delhi Govt. This too will gently push the agitating farmers to come to a conclusion with Central Govt with some kind of a face saving agreement.
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