Bumpy road ahead for Raje as farmer issues gain steam
The bank, with the help of district administration, had served attachment notice for his three bigha land. It triggered Meghwal to hang himself to death.
The government, however, refused to accept the death of Mangalram Meghwal, 36, to be a suicide due to debt distress. “You cannot call death of every farmer as suicide due to debt burden,” state agriculture minister Prabhu Lal Saini said on Monday. “Police is investigating into the case. It’s not yet proved what was the reason for his suicide, (and) also, if a handicap could be a farmer?” he said.
The deceased had taken farm loan of Rs 4.5 lakh from Punjab National Bank. But he was unable to pay it back. The bank, with the help of district administration, had served attachment notice for his three bigha land. It triggered Meghwal to hang himself to death.
Meghwal’s death has simmered the politics of rising farmer suicides in the state. Six farmers have committed suicides in Rajasthan in the last couple of months even after Raje had announced a farm debt waiver of up to Rs 50,000 for small and marginal farmers. Farmer groups and opposition parties held a dharna outside the government hospital, not allowing to take away the dead body. They are blaming the state government’s apathy for the farmer’s death while demanding compensation of Rs 20 lakh for the family. “It’s a complete failure of BJP government,” said Amra Ram, national president of All India Kisan Sabha. “We will teach them a lesson in these elections. Farmers have suffered a lot in its rule,” he said. “The debt waiver scheme of government is an eyewash,” alleged Ram, a former four-time CPI(M) MLA who was in the state assembly from 1993 to 2013.
Condemning the farmer’s death, Ashok Gehlot, Congress general secretary, said the government has failed miserable in providing any relief to the farmers. “Farmers are committing suicides and chief minister is carrying out ‘Gaurav Yatra’,” he said.
According to experts, it’s going to be tough journey as farm distress and farmers’ suicides have snowballed into a big political issue in Rajasthan.