Several cotton and soyabean farmers are demanding compensation for damage to crops by pests from the state government. "So despite the SP's announcement that he has released us, we made a decision to remain here and we'll go wherever the police take us, but unless our demands are accepted, our protest will continue", Sinha told ANI.
"After the organisers made it clear that they would continue their agitation plans, I instructed police to open up the police hall, arrange for food for around 250 farmers, which they declined, and give mattresses and quilts as the weather here is quite chilly", Pandey told IANS this evening.
District Magistrate Aastik Kumar Pande hinted that 6-7 of Sinha's demands have been accepted and maintained that the 79-year-old BJP leader was arrested along with the farmers as they refused to stop the "dharna".
Sinha, along with hundreds of farmers, was protesting against the government for its alleged apathy towards cotton and soybean cultivators outside the Akola district collectors office.
Asserting that he will continue to press for the farmers' rights, Sinha said, "I will not get involved in party politics".
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Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray's media advisor Harshal Pradhan told PTI that Thackeray and Sinha spoke on phone today and discussed farmers' issues.
There were reports that Sinha had a telephonic conversation with NCP chief and former Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar. "The government and the administration don't appear to be serious about the farmers' cause". The excuse about NAFED purchase is not valid as BJP-ruled states like MP and Gujarat have been procuring the produce through their own procurement systems.
"I wish to tell the police, district administration and the state government that if we are formally arrested and released and they think that we will go home, then they are under the wrong impression".
Sinha, who arrived here in Vidarbha three days ago to participate in the Kapus Soyabean Dhan (cotton, soyabean, paddy) Parishad, was detained, along with farmes, by police near the collectorate.
In his speech, Sinha accused the ruling party at the centre and in Maharashtra (BJP) of going back on its pre-poll promises of giving 50 percent above the MSP to the farmers. "But after coming to power, the party forgot the promise", Sinha said.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.