Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jan 31:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address a mega farmers’ convention scheduled to be held in Odisha’s Bargarh on February 21.
“We have arranged a mega farmers’ convention on February 21 in Bargarh. More than a lakh farmers would attend the meeting to greet the Prime Minister, offer him their support and convey him their issues,” said BJP Odisha in-charge Arun Singh announcing the attendance of the Prime Minister in the convention in a press conference held here today.
BJP has planned four such conventions across the country. The series will start from Bhopal where the meeting will be held on February 18 and Bargarh will be the second venue. Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh will follow, Singh added.
Interestingly, this will be Modi’s second visit to the state in February, the first being on February 7 for the dedication of Indian Oil Corporation Ltd’s Paradip refinery.
When specifically asked about issues such as severe drought and farmer suicide witnessed in the district and if BJP is going to raise these issues, BJP Spokesperson Sajjan Sharma avoided a direct answer and said that that the rally is a means for farmers of the state to thank the Prime Minister for the welfare schemes taken up by the Central government such as the crop insurance, hike in compensation amount, implementation of latest technologies in farming etc.
The Odisha rally bears political significance not only because of the attendance of the Prime Minister, but also because of similar conventions held there earlier. While Congress scion Rahul Gandhi started a ‘Save Farmers March’ from Debahal village of the district on September 10 last year, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik addressed a mega rally of farmers in Sohela of the same district on November 19 last.
Besides, a fierce political power play in one of the worst drought-hit districts of the state that witnessed about two dozen farmers committing suicide this year, may also take a violent turn as it happened on the eve of Naveen’s rally in Sohela as we reported here. http://odishasuntimes.com/2015/11/18/bjd-bjp-workers-clash-at-sohela/
BJD, however, tried to play down the convention and its possible political effects.
“As a political party they have the right to hold a rally wherever they wish. It, in no possible way, would affect BJD. The farmers had always been with us and will continue to be with us. They understand the steps Naveen government has taken for their welfare unlike BJP or Congress, who come here to hold rallies and forget about them after the rally,” said BJD spokesperson Dibya Shankar Mishra.