Uddhav underlines farmers' plight in Maharashtra

Mumbai: Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray today asked why farmers were still suffering in Maharashtra when "our government" was in power in state and the Centre, and took a potshot at Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis's foreign tours to attract investment.

He also accused the agriculture minister and BJP leader Eknath Khadse of "making a mockery" of drought-hit farmers. "The Union Agriculture Minister said he did not receive any proposal of aid for drought-affected farmers. But...Khadse said that Rs 920 crore have been received before the proposal was sent. Later I was told it was from last year's funds. At least now send the proposal and get Rs 4,500 crore.

"Our government is ruling at the Centre and the state, then why farmers are suffering?" Thackeray asked at a function where he released 'work progress books' of Sena ministers who would complete one year in office this month. Shiv Sena had a small share in power but these books showed how much work its minister were doing, he said.

"I am sure next time the Chief Minister will be from Shiv Sena. He will go to the people and tour the state instead of going out," he said, in an apparent jibe at Fadnavis's foreign visits.

He also questioned the criticism of his party for playing  the opposition's role.

"I do not understand why others criticise our efforts by calling us opposition party. We too are answerable to the people," he said.

Thackeray read out news reports about how farmers were suffering due to drought while the government was turning a blind eye towards their plight.

The leader opined that a change in the government should bring about change in people's lives. "I have read that a farmer had to sell his kidney to pay debt. This is a very sad state of affairs. What is the point
of making only announcements? People need solution to their problems," Thackeray said.

The Sena chief instructed his workers to pay more attention to north Maharashtra which is also badly affected by drought.

The party would help people in Dhule, Nandurbar and Nashik districts that have witnessed a considerable number of farmer suicides, he said.

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