Farmer suicide: Parliament stands united in grief, Modi seeks support to address 'deep-rooted' problem

Need to find solutions collectively for farmers’ woes, says Modi

New Delhi: Parliament on Thursday expressed pain and anguish over the suicide of a farmer here, sharing which Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted that farmers should not be allowed to die and the government would address the problems which are "very old, deep-rooted and widespread".

Modi said in Lok Sabha that the problems afflicting the farmers had to be addressed collectively and the government was open to accepting any suggestion to deal with the agrarian crisis.

The House saw an impromptu debate on the issue, which lasted for over two hours with members cutting across party lines to express pain and anguish over the matter. Members demanded a judicial probe to fix responsbility.

Read: Need to find solutions collectively for farmers’ woes: Narendra Modi

Rajya Sabha also witnessed anguish being expressed by members, with those from Opposition seeking a CBI and demanding a reply from none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the House.

Making a statement after members expressed deep anguish and outrage over Wednesday's incident, Modi said assessment would have to be made about "shortcomings" that occurred before his government came as well as during his 10-month tenure.

Read: Farmer suicide: AAP accuses Rajnath Singh of 'lying and giving misleading statements'

"Yesterday's incident has caused pain to the entire nation. Members here also expressed the pain. I share the pain," he said about the suicide committed by a farmer from Rajasthan at a rally organised by Aam Aadmi Party here.

Observing that nothing is more important than a farmer's life or for that matter a human life, he said, "The problem (afflicting the farmers) is old, deep-rooted and widespread and we have to seek solutions in that context."

Read: Farmer suicide: Parties must find credible solution together, says Manmohan Singh

He said there should be a "collective resolve to ensure that farmers do not die". He said it needs to be ascertained as to what "mistakes" have been made and "what shortcomings" have been there before his government came as well as during his tenure.

"The issue of farmers suicide has been a matter of concern for the whole country for many years... We will all have to ponder over where we went wrong and what were the shortcomings. What were the shortcomings in the last 10 months. I am open to any suggestion so that a way could be found. Let a collective resolve come out of this debate to deal with the crisis," he said.

Read: Farmer suicide at rally: When an Aam Aadmi ends life

Earlier in the day, Opposition members created ruckus in the Lok Sabha over Wednesday’s suicide of a farmer in New Delhi, leading to adjournment of proceedings even as the government said it was ready to discuss the matter. The Rajya Sabha too was adjourned twice briefly following uproar over the issue.

Raising the issue soon after the Lok Sabha assembled for the day, Congress members, who along with those of other parties, demanded suspension of the Question Hour, which Speaker Sumitra Mahajan rejected saying the matter could be discussed later in the day.

Read: Farmer who committed suicide at AAP rally had contested elections in 2003

But the opposition members continued to protest seeking an immediate debate on the issue.

Soon, members of Left parties staged a walkout, as the Congress members started raising anti-government slogans.

As the protests continued, Ms. Mahajan asked the agitating members not to “politicise the matter”.

“No one is bothered about the problems of farmers... Everyone is playing their own politics,” she said and added that she herself was saddened by the incident.

Read: Farmer suicide at AAP rally: Congress, BJP protest outside Arvind Kejriwal's residence

Amid the din, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said the government was ready to discuss the “important, serious and urgent” issue of the farmer’s suicide.

Though the House has already discussed the issue of unseasonal rains and hailstorm destroying standing crops, the government was ready to have another debate on the plight of the farmers, Mr. Naidu said.

The matter can be discussed when the Home Minister is present and government would inform what steps are being taken, he said, telling the opposition members “don’t politicise the issue... the whole nation is watching.”

As the ruckus continued, the House was adjourned for over half-an-hour till noon.

Gajendra Singh, a distressed farmer from Dausa in Rajasthan, committed suicide on Wednesday by hanging himself from a tree in full public view in the presence of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at an Aam Aadmi Party rally.

Read: Farmer's death has saddened nation, says Narendra Modi

Making a case for adjourning the proceedings, the Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge asked what else can be a more important matter for which the Question Hour can be adjourned than a farmer committing suicide in broad day light.

“Government does not want to take notice (about the incident),” he said, as Ms. Mahajan sharply reacted asking him not to make any allegations as it was a “sensitive issue”.

Referring to Wednesday’s incident, Mr. Kharge also said that the police as well as those sitting on the dais at the rally were witnessing it.

“Whether one is on this side (Opposition) or on the other side (ruling), all are sad about the incident...,” Mr. Kharge said.

As Congress members trooped into the well shouting slogans like Kisan virodhi sarkar nahi chalegi (down with anti-farmer government’), they were joined by those from JD (U) and SP.

Read: Farmer’s suicide shames us all

The Speaker pleaded with the protesting members saying that all parties would be given an opportunity to speak on the matter, but to no avail.

K.C. Venugopal, Rajeev Satav, Deepender Singh Hooda and Ravneet Singh Bittu (all Congress), Saugata Roy (Trinamool Congress), M.B. Rajesh and P. Karunakaran (both CPI(M)) and others had given notices to adjourn the Question Hour.

( Source : dc/pti )
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