No relief for cotton farmers, PM puts off meeting with Mumbai CM

Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Wednesday had to call off hisvisit to Delhi to discuss the problems of cotton growing farmers because prime minister Manmohan Singh cancelled the appointment due to prior commitments.

The cotton growing farmers have sought Rs6,000 per quintal for the crop —a price the state wants to consult with the Centre before making any commitment.

Congress leaders from Vidarbha are up in arms arguing that if the state can bear the additional burden of Rs4,000 crore for increasing the price for sugarcane farmers, it cannot ignore cotton growing farmers.

The top leadership in the Congress is worried as delay in the decision regarding hike in cotton rates would go against them in the civic polls.

The cotton growing belt of Vidarbha, which is perceived as the Congress stronghold, is turning into a political battle turf after BJP and Shiv Sena decided to launch an agitation from November 19 and 21 respectively.

State BJP chief Sudhir Mungantiwar said: “We will not allow winter session to take place in Nagpur (Vidarbha) if cotton farmers are not paid Rs6,000 per quintal.”

MPCC chief Manikrao Thakre, who hails from Yavatmal in Vidarbha, has taken the lead to drive the farmers’ plight through closed door meetings with top leadership of state. He held discussions with the CM drawing attention to the problems of farmers in Vidarbha.

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