Congress tries to gherao Chattisgarh assembly; 444 partymen held

RAIPUR: The Congress today tried to gherao the Chhattisgarh Assembly, specially convened today to pass the second supplementary budget, in support of various farmers-related demands, although the police foiled their bid.
According to police, at least 444 Congressmen, including AICC General Secretary and state-incharge P L Punia, AICC secretary Kamleshwar Patel and party’s state chief Bhupesh Baghel, were arrested during the protest.
Barricades were installed at Mandi gate near Lodhi Para chowk to stop the protestors.
“As many as 444 Congress leaders and workers were arrested as a preventive measure while they were marching towards the Chhattisgarh assembly,” Raipur Additional Superintendent of Police Vijay Agrawal told .
However, they were later released unconditionally, he added.
In view of the protest, around 800 security personnel, led by senior police officials, were deployed at different places, including in the assembly and on the routes heading towards it, to avert untoward situation, the ASP said.
Meanwhile, Congress claimed that around 12,000 farmers participated in the protest held under the aegis of its farmer wing and of them, 4,590 courted arrest.
Addressing the gathering on the occasion, Punia accused the ruling BJP of ignoring the interest of farmers and ditching them by not providing bonus and minimum support price (MSP) against paddy procurement as promised by them in their manifesto during the last assembly poll (2013).

Ahead of the last assembly elections, the BJP had assured to give Rs 300 bonus to farmers for paddy procurement for the next five years, but now it is only giving it for the paddy procured in 2016-17, Punia said.
“Recently, the Raman Singh government had imposed section 144 of CrPC and detained farmers, who were protesting in support of their demands in several districts of the state which clearly reflects the oppressive face of this government,” he alleged.
Punia further demanded that the state government should procure every single grain of paddy from farmers.
Speaking on the occasion, Baghel also hit out at the ruling BJP and accused that it’s “anti-farmers” policy has led to the increase in cultivators’ suicide in the state.
One-day special session of the state legislative assembly was convened today to seek approval of the House for spending about Rs 2,100 crore to disburse bonus to the farmers against the paddy procured in the kharif marketing season 2016-

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