Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not spare even five minutes for an all-party committee of the Odisha Assembly, decried Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik while addressing a farmer’s convention “ Krushak Adhikar Samavesh” at the Talkatora Stadium on Tuesday, adding, the BJD was in Delhi only because the BJP led government has failed to keep its promise to farmers.

Iterating his demand for fiscal autonomy, the Chief Minister said had the centre provided fiscal autonomy and special category status to Odisha, we would have taken care of our farmers and not come here.

Coming down heavily on the BJP, he said it had forgotten all of its 2014 election promises including that of according special category status to Odisha.

Demanding an immediate intervention from the Centre, the CM pointed out that the Minimum Support Price (MSP) is a Central Government prerogative and despite repeated requests to the Centre it has been ignored.

BJD demanded that this was in line with the Swaminathan Committee’s recommendation and should have been implemented as committed in its 2014 manifesto to increase the MSP by at least 50 per cent.

The protest convention was attended by all BJD MPs, MLAs, panchayat representatives and farmer representatives of Odisha.

A special train had been requisitioned to carry the BJD workers to Delhi.

(It is pertinent to note that this is only the second time in 19 years that the BJD staged a protest rally and meeting at Delhi. The earlier one was on the special category status)

“The farmer is the soul of the Indian economy,” the Odisha Chief Minister said. “I have gone to the Centre many times with this demand, but it has been ignored. It was promised by the BJP also in 2014, but they have forgotten their promise after coming to power,” he said.

The Odisha state assembly, in a unanimous resolution, requested the Union Government to fix the MSP of paddy at Rs 2,930 per quintal. All sections of farmers of our state are agitating over this continuously without any response from the Union Government.

The price fixed by the Central Government at Rs 1,750 per quintal for the current kharif marketing season is unacceptable to the farmers of Odisha. The price has been fixed without giving due consideration to the request from Odisha Government, he alleged.

The CM said the state had launched the Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA) scheme, which would benefit about 92 per cent of the farmers.

The state government has earmarked Rs 10,180 crore for KALIA in three years. The scheme will provide financial, livelihood, cultivation support along with insurance support to the small, marginal, and landless farmers.

KALIA scheme has been receiving appreciation and rave remarks from the experts and agri-economists, he said.

BJD Krushak wing leaders Prasanna Acharya and Pratap Jena lashed out at the BJP for betraying farmers across the country.

BJD MPs Bhartruhari Mahatab and Tathagat Satpathy, and others like AU Singh Deo and SN Patra addressed the gathering. Mahatab pointed out that it was the central government which barred states from providing the bonus to farmers. On the one hand, they do not enhance the MSP and on the other block states from providing the bonus to farmers, he charged.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik led a delegation of the party MPs and MLAs to Rashtrapati Bhawan and submitted a memorandum to President Ramnath Kovind.