Taking a grim view of the suicide by an octogenarian peasant demanding fair compensation for his acquired lands, the Shiv Sena on Tuesday warned its ruling ally BJP that Dharma Patil’s funeral pyre will destroy the BJP government.
Condemning the incident which happened in the state government Mantralaya where the Dhule-based 84-year-old Patil consumed poison on January 22 and succumbed during treatment six days later, the Shiv Sena launched a vitriolic attack on the BJP.
“This is not governance. The Chief Minister (Devendra Fadnavis) should run the state, not the BJP. Your administration stands on the dead body of Dharma Patil. His funeral pyre will reduce your chair to ashes,” the Sena said in editorials in party organs ‘Saamana’ and ‘Dopahar Ka Saamana’.
It pointed out how Fadnavis was delivering speeches in Davos at the World Economic Forum summit when farmers in the state were committing suicide.
“What’s the use of foreign investment in such circumstances? Merely making speeches will not solve the questions of food, shelter and clothing. Patil has been ‘murdered’,” the Sena said.
It added that though Patil was no more, his death had sparked a new flame in the minds of the farmers suffering injustice.
Recalling the sequence of events, the Sena said Patil was offered a compensation of just Rs 400,000 for his five acres of prime, fertile land, while a neighbouring farmer with a plot of less than two acres was given Rs 20 million (Rs 2 crore).
“He sought justice at the district level, then approached Mantralaya, where he was again ignored for three months. There were 600 mango trees flourishing on his land, plus a well, drip irrigation, electric pumps, and all he wanted was adequate compensation. By giving Patil this meagre amount (Rs 400,000), the government played a cruel joke on him,” the Sena said.
When the matter erupted into a crisis, the government attempted to ‘bribe’ him with Rs 1.50 million (Rs 15 lakhs) compensation, which Patil’s family refused and asked for a fair compensation, it said.
“In the name of projects for ‘vikaas’, government-appointed ‘agents’ grab control of such land. Those farmers who strike deals through ‘agents’ get huge compensation, the rest have to settle for paltry amounts. This is the scenario,” the Sena said.
The government machinery was also equally responsible for Patil’s suicide and the concerned minister and officials should be charged with murder, it said.
Accusing the erstwhile Congress-Nationalist Congress Party goverenment, the Sena said during their 15-year rule 15,000 farmers committed suicide. So all former Chief Ministers and officials should be similarly booked.
“This government is cheating farmers in the name of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj… In a similar situation, he would have thrown off his ministers and courtiers from mountain cliffs,” the Sena said.