Cong, BJP plan back-to-back farmers’ meet

After the global agriculture summit, where Chief Minister Narendra Modi felicitated farmers from across the country, the Congress and BJP are planning back-to-back shows of strength of farmers in Rajkot, the nerve centre of Saurashtra, known for groundnut and cotton cultivation.

While the Congress has chosen to attack the BJP by holding farmers' convention or Khedut Mahasammelan in Rajkot, as the region is reportedly responsible for bringing the BJP to power in the state, the BJP, too, has resolved to protect its citadel.

The Congress is holding its convention on September 13. BJP MP Vitthal Radadia on Wednesday announced that his party's convention will take place on September 23. Both the parties are raising the same issue — delayed payment of crop insurance to the region's farmers who lost their groundnut crop in 2012 kharif due to poor monsoon.

On Thursday, BJP's Kisan Morcha will meet in Gandhinagar to discuss various issues that will also be taken up at the convention. It will be attended, among others, by Modi, Kisan Morcha national in-charge Purushottam Rupala, its national president Om Prakash Dhankad and national vice-president Dilip Sanghani.

Congress leaders have alleged that most groundnut farmers have not received insurance amount and the state government is responsible for this. They have cited a letter from Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar to substantiate their allegations. The letter, sent to Congress leader and Rajkot MP Kunvarji Bavalia, has stated that the Union Agriculture ministry has already settled the claims of Rs 278.34 crore from 18 talukas of Gujarat, but claims worth Rs 1607.41 crore could not be settled in another 45 talukas because of discrepancy between actual areas under groundnut cultivation and insurance claims submitted. The letter has further stated that reminders had been sent to the state government to remove the discrepancies for early settlement of claims.

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