Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leaders led by Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao will hold a day-long dharna against the Centre on Monday in the national capital, demanding procurement of 15 lakh tonnes of parboiled rice from the state. This will be the TRS’ first protest rally in Delhi after coming to power in Telangana in 2014.
The party MPs, MLCs, MLAs, entire cabinet ministers, and elected representatives of urban and rural local bodies will sit on a dharna at Telangana Bhawan here, TRS MP G Ranjith Reddy said on Sunday.
The TRS has intensified its protest and reached Delhi after the Central government allegedly refused Telangana’s request to buy parboiled rice in the current rabi season.
“The CM will lead the protest and Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait is expected to express solidarity with the CM on the dharna day,” Reddy told PTI.
Explaining the whole controversy over rice procurement, Reddy said the Telangana government had been discouraging farmers not to grow paddy during the rabi season after the Centre refused to buy parboiled rice at the minimum support price (MSP) from the state.
Farmers were asked to diversify and as a result the area grown under parboiled rice in the state was reduced from 55 lakh acres to 30 acres in the rabi season, he said, adding that the the area could have further got reduced had BJP leaders not instigated farmers to grow paddy with a promise to procure the entire quantity.
“Union Minister G Kishan Reddy and BJP state president Bandi Sanjay Kumar instigated farmers in the state to grow paddy in the rabi season. Farmers have grown paddy in 30 acres and produced 15 lakh tonnes of parboiled rice,” the TRS leader said showing video clippings of these two leaders.
The TRS leader further said that the Centre is now refusing to procure 15 lakh tonnes of parboiled rice from Telangana farmers. The Centre is saying that it can procure only raw rice and not the parboiled ones which are not consumed largely in India, Reddy said.
The TRS has made all arrangements for dharna, with billboards and posters carrying slogans ‘one nation-one procurement policy’ and ‘protect the interests of farmers’ erected in and around Telangana Bhawan in Delhi.
Telangana CM Rao, who is president of the TRS, has been in the national capital for the past 10 days for a medical check-up and to review the arrangements for the protest.
Meanwhile, ahead of the protest, TRS leader and MLC K Kavitha on Sunday said that the party will fight for the interests of the farmers. Kavitha, daughter of Rao, said the TRS under the leadership of the chief minister will stand and fight for the interests of every farmer.
Alleging that the BJP-led NDA government discriminated against Telangana, the TRS has taken up a series of protests, including road blockades, for nearly a week in Telangana. The protests by TRS came amid a war of words between the TRS and the BJP over the paddy procurement.
The Telangana government had given in writing that it will not supply parboiled rice but raw rice to the Food Corporation of India, Union Food Minister Piyush Goyal had said recently. Telangana state BJP president Kumar on Saturday alleged that the TRS government’s “politicking on paddy procurement” smacks of a large-scale conspiracy to help middlemen make crores of rupees and diverting the anger of farmers towards the Centre.
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