Maharashtra government officials reportedly objected when some police officials offered tea and snacks to senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha who has laid siege at the police headquarters here since Monday to fight for farmers’ issues.
According to official sources, late on Monday evening, Sinha and several scores of farmers were detained after they launched an agitation outside the police headquarters.
Later, some police officials, apparently acting on humanitarian grounds, offered them some tea and light refreshments, but an official from the district collectorate reportedly objected and pulled them up for their action.
Contacted for comments, Sinha said even he “had heard about this” from his supporters.
“But I have not personally heard the collectorate’s official raising such an objection,” Sinha said from the spot of his agitation.
He said that since Monday evening, the farmers have been agitating to get concrete assurances from the state government on their demands, including minimum support prices to farmers for their produce.
“So far, nobody from the Chief Minister’s side, barring the local District Collector, has met or spoken to us,” Sinha added.
Despite repeated attempts and messages, Collector Astik Kumar Pandey was not available for his comments on the issue.
Now, Sinha – who is accompanied, among others, by Tushar Gandhi, the great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi – has threatened to launch a hunger strike if the farmers’ demands are unfulfilled.
Nationalist Congress Party Sharad Pawar and Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray have spoken with Sinha over phone and discussed the farmers’ issues with him.
Pawar told Sinha that his party is fully behind Sinha and supports the agitation.
Earlier on Monday evening, Sinha and others addressed a rally of cotton, soyabean and paddy farmers organized by the Shetkari Jagran Manch of Akola.
In his speech, Sinha accused the ruling party at the centre and in Maharashtra (BJP) of going back on its pre-poll promises of giving 50 percent above the MSP to the farmers.
He warned that just as Indian soldiers effected surgical strikes across the borders, the farming community would carry out a ‘surgical strike’ against the government till justice was done.
However, Sinha has made it clear that his agitation is “non-political” and entirely dedicated to the cause of the Maharashtra farmers.