Lucknow: Potatoes were hurled from a truck at various prominent places at Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday in what is seen as a protest by farmers against low purchase price of the produce, even as the state government dismissed the incident as the work of "miscreants".
Lucknow District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma said, “There was a truck which had sacks of potato and it started throwing potatoes in various parts of the city early this morning. Now, whether this has been done by the farmers or by someone else is yet to be ascertained. So far, no farmers' group has claimed any responsibility for this act.”
He added that the “potatoes were thrown on Vidhan Sabha Marg, near VVIP guest house and near the 1090 Crossing. The roads were then cleaned by the Lucknow Municipal Corporation, soil was also put on the smashed potatoes so that motorcyclists and other two-wheeler riders do not skid off the road. Fire brigade was also roped in to get some roads adjoining the Vidhan Bhawan building washed, so that the road does not become slippery.”
"This seems to be the work of anti-social elements. It is not very clear whether this is a work of farmers or any farmer organisation...We are probing all possible angles...," Sharma added.
When contacted, a state government spokesman said, “This was not done by farmers, but by miscreants.”
Meanwhile, the Rashtriya Kisan Manch has slammed the state government over the incident.
The group's President Shekhar Dixit said, “There is difference in the words and actions of the government. I am not pointing fingers at the Narendra Modi government or Yogi Adityanath government. But this has been the situation even during the regime of SP and BSP.”
“Today it is the potato farmers who have thrown potatoes on the streets of Lucknow, tomorrow it may be the sugarcane farmers, the wheat and paddy farmers...if the situation does not improve,” he added.
Speaking to reporters, Uttar Pradesh Agriculture Minister Surya Pratap Shahi said, “This was a pre-planned act, as the potato which was thrown on the streets of Lucknow was partly or completely rotten, and rejected in the mandi (market). It is a deliberate attempt to malign the image of the Yogi Adityanath government.”...