Bhubaneswar: Agriculture Minister Damodar Rout Monday courted controversy by saying that he would not visit deceased farmer Brundaban Sahu’s home in Bargarh as he did not belong to his party.
His remarks came after Union minister of state for agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat met the bereaved family members of Sahu, who committed suicide allegedly due to crop loss following pest attack.
On being asked by media persons here at the Secretariat whether he would visit Sahu’s family, the minister said, “The Union minister is visiting as he (Brunda Sahu) might be of BJP. He is not my party man, why should I visit?”
“An enquiry has been ordered into the incident (suicide) and it is being pursued properly. The reason behind his suicide and what prompted him to set his paddy crop on fire will be looked into. All angles and aspects are being probed by a high-level team,” Rout said.
“The state government is now contemplating in what way Sahu’s family could be compensated,” he added.
Rejecting Rout’s claim, Brunda’s younger daughter Preeti said, “We do not belong to any party. My father was a farmer and we all belong to farmers’ community. It is not proper that a minister of this government is making such comment on us.”
The BJP also came down heavily on the minister for Rout’s insensitive remark on the farmer’s family. “On what basis Rout said they belong to BJP. If he is having a report in this regard, then let him list out the farmers as per their party lineage and only work for the BJD farmers. I strongly condemn it,” said BJP legislator Pradip Purohit.
Meanwhile, the BJP central team, after its visit to the pest affected districts in the state, blamed the state government for the
BJP general secretary P Sugunakar Rao said, “Our team visited 36 places in eight districts during the last three days. The condition of the farmers here is extremely bad. Wherever we visited, we found cultivation is running through hard times due to drought. The paddy crop of irrigated areas has totally been damaged due to brown planthopper.”
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