Farmer’s death in UP ruined Modi’s visit to Bhagpat ahead of Kairana by-poll

New Delhi: A day before PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Bhagpat on Sunday, a 60-year-old sugarcane farmer died during a protest at Baghpat’s Baraut tehsil over pending cane dues and power tariff hike. Modi was visiting UP’s district to inaugurate the Eastern Peripheral Expressway.

The local farmer Udayveer along with 50 others was protesting against the increase in power tariff and sugarcane dues. With farmer’s body kept on an ice-slab, the farmers sat on a dharna around 30 km from where the PM had announced financial support of ₹5.50 a quintal to cane farmers.

One of those who led the demonstration, Surendra Singh, told The Hindu that the BJP had promised in its election manifesto that its government would clear the dues within 14 days from the starting of the crushing season.

Meanwhile, Congress on Sunday attacked Modi over Udayveer’s death noting that he did not speak about the incident during his speech nor visit the farmers family.

The attack came a day before the crucial by-election in Kairana parliamentary constituency in Uttar Pradesh where a united Opposition is taking on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Kairana is over 50 km away from Baghpat.

“The sugarcane farmers of Uttar Pradesh are thinking that the Prime Minister, who is taking credit for UPA schemes, wades through their farms in a road show but does not pay attention to them. Unfortunately, farmers like Udayveer, who gave away their lives while fighting for their rights cannot even think of this (of Prime Minister paying attention),” Congress President Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet.

Another Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala also criticised BJP government and said, “Udayveer lost his life during the protest of sugarcane farmers. Modi and (Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi) Adityanath, who came to power on a promise of clearing dues of farmers in 14 days have forgotten that dues of Rs 12,224 crore are pending and electricity bill has been raised by Rs 1,600 per month.”

IANS inputs