Telangana BJP chief’s visit to paddy centres triggers protest, clash

Hyderabad, Nov 15 (IANS) The workers of BJP and TRS clashed in Miryalguda on Monday after the visit by Telangana BJP chief Bandi Sanjay Kumar to some paddy procurement centres triggered tension.

Demanding that Kumar should secure an assurance from the Centre for the procurement of paddy during the upcoming Rabi season, the leaders and workers of the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) tried to disrupt his visit.

The two sides pelted stones on each other, forcing the police to resort to lathi charge to disperse the clashing groups.

Kumar, who is also an MP, visited the procurement centres in Nalgonda and Suryapet districts to ‘expose’ what he calls TRS government’s failure to procure paddy from the farmers.

He, however, had to face protest from the TRS cadres. Holding black flags and raising slogans of ‘Bandi Sanjay go back’, the protesters tried to stop him.

Before Kumar’s visit, local TRS MLAs also visited the procurement centres, claiming that the state government is committed to procure the entire paddy crop cultivated during the Rabi season. They alleged that the BJP leader was trying to provoke the farmers.

Kumar, however, alleged that the farmers at the procurement centres were facing severe hardships as the state government was not procuring the paddy. He alleged that the TRS government is blaming the Centre for its failure to come to the rescue of the farmers.

Claiming that Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao had promised to procure the last grain from the farmers, the BJP leader said that KCR, as the CM is popularly know, has gone back on his word to escape from his responsibility.

The BJP leader said that the Food Corporation of India (FCI) is ready to procure 60 lakh tonnes of paddy, but the state government has so far procured only seven lakh tonnes during the ongoing season.

Kumar first visited the IKP centre at Arjalabhavi in Nalgonda district. He, however, had to face a protest by TRS workers who were carrying black flags. The BJP supporters raised counter slogans and the two sides nearly came to blows. The police had to intervene to disperse the TRS workers.

Kumar claimed that posing as farmers, the TRS workers came to the centre and attacked his party workers.

Later, the BJP leader’s visit to another procurement centre at Vemulapalem village in Miryalguda also led to tension. TRS cadres who had gathered there raised slogans asking Kumar to go back. The BJP workers raised counter slogans. Both sides pelted stone on each other, resulting in injuries to a few workers. The BJP leaders alleged that TRS men attacked them with eggs and tomatoes.

The clash between the two parties came close on the heels of a war of words between the Chief Minister and Kumar. KCR had slammed Kumare for what he called provoking the farmers by asking them to grow paddy while the Centre had made it clear that it will not lift paddy in the next season.

TRS had staged protests in all the Assembly constituencies on November 12, demanding the Centre to procure the entire paddy crop from the state. Ministers, MPs and state legislators had participated in the protest.

Meanwhile, TRS has announced that a meeting of its legislators will be chaired by Chief Minister and TRS chief KCR on Tuesday to discuss the Centre’s stand on paddy procurement.

The meeting will chalk out the future course of action. The ruling party alleged that the Centre and the BJP are adopting double standards and misleading the farmers and people of the state.

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