BJP pulls up Danve over anti-farmer remark
MAHARASHTRA: OPPN PLANS STATE-WIDE PROTEST
ON A day Opposition Congress and NCP decided to launch statewide protests against BJP state presidentraosahebdanvefor“insulting farmers” through a “derogatory” comment, the party’scentralleadershipislearnt tohavepulleduptheseniorleader for his “irresponsible” remark.
During an internal meeting of the BJP Wednesday, Danve had while responding to a worker’s query about farmers’ problems reportedly said: “Despite 1 lakh tonne of additional procurement of tur (pulses), they (farmers) are still crying.” He had allegedly also used a derogatory term for the farmers, inviting sharp criticism not from only the Opposition and ally Shiv Sena, but from within the party too.
Even as Danve made a public apology Thursday, sources said he was cautioned by the party’s central leadership against making such remarks as they “adversely impact the image of the party and the government”.
“The top leaders in Delhi conveyed to Danve that since he holds an important post, he should exercise more caution and not make a comment that can affect the image of the BJP and the government. He was told that such comments undermine the policy reforms and other efforts in the agriculture sector made by the state and central governments,” a senior BJP leader said.
In his written statement in Marathi, Danve clarified: “I was addressingapartyworkers’meetingandchalkingoutprogrammes forthenext15days,threemonths and six months. It was decided that workers would personally meet villagers and explain the goodworkdonebythecentreand thestate.issuesrelatedtofarmers were also discussed.”
He added: “One of the workers raised a question about nonprocured tur from farmers. I explained to him the measures taken by the government.”
Denying having made any insulting remark, Danve said: “I was born in a farmers’ family. I am engaged in farming. Where is the question of my insulting farmers? The media is wrongly projecting the issue and my statement. I never made any derogatory remark against farmers. Yet, if my statement has hurt farmers, I seek apology.”
However, not everyone in the party is satisfied. “In an age where perception matters, we expect our leaders to behave more responsibly. If genuine farmers’ issues are highlighted in internal meetings by workers, leaders should take them more seriously,” said a BJP MLA who did not wish to be named.
The Congress and the NCP have decided to launch a statewide protest against Danve from Friday. Asked if the NCP would also demand Danve’s removal, party president Sharad Pawar said: “His continuance as the state BJP chief is good for the Opposition parties.”