Congress playing politics in the name of cotton farmers: RSS

Nagpur: Days after a group of cotton growers of Wardha region took out a protest march to the RSS headquarters here alleging that a buyer close to the outfit defaulted on his payment for their produce, the Sangh has accused the Congress of “playing politics” over the issue while distancing itself from the concerned buyer.

While staging the protest last week, the farmers had alleged that the buyer, Sunil Prabhakar Talatu, failed to pay them their dues and that he was close to the RSS.

“The Congress is indulging in cheap politics and the RSS condemns it. In the name of Khet Mazdoor Congress, the party is supporting the protest of the farmers,” said Rajesh Loya, head of Nagpur unit of RSS, in a statement here.

“It was his (Talatule’s) individual deal with the cotton growers and RSS has nothing to do with it,” he said.

Loya said Congress was dragging RSS’ name into the issue by taking out protest march to its headquarters and burning effigies of its top leaders, which was “unjust”.

“This shows the dirty mindset of the Congress,” the statement added.

Last week, as many as 400 farmers had organised a protest in front of the Sangh headquarters against alleged non-payment of dues by Talatule, who is said to be close to the BJP leaders.

The farmers had accused the RSS of shielding Talatule, who they claimed has failed to make payments to farmers in Seloo at Wardha for their produce sold between November 2014 and May 2015.

Pro-Congress farmer outfit–Khet Mazdoor Congress–lent support to the demonstration.

The farmers claimed that they sold 20,000 quintals of cotton to Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) in Wardha, which in turn sold it to Prabhakar Talatule who owns a ginning and pressing unit.

They also claimed that they had met Union Minister Nitin Gadakari and Maharashtra Finance Minister Sudhir Mungattiwar urging them to pressurise Talatule to pay them their dues.

The farmers, who were detained on February 28, when they were marching towards the RSS headquarters here were later let off. They have since then staging sit-in at the RBI square in the city.

The Maharashtra government has convened a high level meeting on March 9 in Mumbai to discuss the issue. This was conveyed to the agitating farmers by State Energy Minister and District Guardian Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule.

The meeting will be attended by Minister for Co-operation Chandrakant Patil, Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar and Bawankule himself along with officials, a government release had said earlier.