Chillies have turned out to be a burning issue for the Telugu Desam Party-led Andhra Pradesh government, and a unified opposition has launched an offensive against the ruling party.
Actor-turned-politician Pawan Kalyan has written to the state government, demanding that chillies be bought at Rs 11,000 per quintal. He also threatened that his party, Jana Sena will stage protests if the demand was not met.
â€śDue to the negligence of the government towards farmers, they are being forced onto the roads and the incidents of protests by chilli farmers in the two States stand as an example to the situation. It is not good for the country if the farmers are left to cry,â€ť he said in a media statement.
Earlier on Monday, principle opposition YSR Congressâ€™s chief Jagan Mohan Reddy also criticised the Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu for not increasing the minimum support price (MSP).
â€śBut this government, instead of coming to the rescue of farmers, has added to their misery. Mr Naidu has failed to disburse input subsidy of Rs 4,394 crore for three years. No one knows what happened to his poll-eve promise of creating a market stabilisation fund of Rs 5,000 crore. It has become a habit for Mr Naidu to make a promise and break the trust of people later,â€™â€™ Reddy said at an event held on farmer issues near Gunturâ€™s chilly yard, incidentally the largest in Asia.
â€śWhat benefit will the farmer get if the government says that the scheme is only for chilli produce which fetches below Rs 8,000 per quintal? The farmer gets support for only 20 quintals. Instead, the government could have procured chilli through MarkFed, a move which would have ensured competition among private players,â€™â€™ he added.
Earlier on April 20, farmers in the state staged massive protests by burning mounds of chillies and blocked the Chennai-Kolkata Highway.
The picture is similar in neighbouring Telangana too, where the principle opposition party, the Indian National Congress criticised the government for not doing enough for the farmers.
On April 28, Khammam witnessed violent protests by chilli growers. Several farmers went on a rampage and vandalised the Market Yard Office and broke chairs, tables, doors, computers and windows.