Union agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh on Saturday said some farmers have been staging protests just for the sake of media attention.
Singh was quoted in ANI as saying, "It is natural that any farmers' organisation will have 1,000-2,000 farmers as members. It is necessary for them to do something unusual so that they get publicity in the media."
Talking to mediapersons, Singh said, "There are crores of farmers in the country, but only a few farmers have been staging protests. It has no relevance at all."
Singh's remarks came in response to a query on the going protests by thousands of farmers in Madhya Pradesh and elsewhere over low support price for their products, among other reasons.
He further claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party government in Madhya Pradesh was pro-farmer and had been doing a lot in the interest of farmers.
Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar too made comments in a similar vein on Saturday, calling the protest "issue-less" and "unnecessary." Khattar said that the organisers of the strike were only harming the farmers' cause as they wouldn't be able to sell their produce for ten days.
The protesting farmers, organised and supported by groups like Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh and All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), have cut off the supply of milk, vegetables, and essential farm produce to mark the first anniversary of the Mandsaur demonstration in Madhya Pradesh, in which six farmers were killed in police firing. Farmers in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Haryana and Chhattisgarh are participating in the ongoing protest.
Through the protest, the farmers have put forward demands which include a one-time loan waiver, higher minimum support prices, and higher prices for their produce in general. Similar demands were made during a large scale farmers' protest in Maharashtra in March 2018.
With inputs from IANS
Updated Date: Jun 02, 2018 21:33:07 IST