A meeting between Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and a delegation of agitating farmers over their demands was nothing but a “sort of match fixing”, a senior Congress leader said. The Congressman, who was part of the meet, alleged leaders of the Opposition were made to wait out for an hour, while both parties (the government and the All India Kisan Sabha representatives) held a closed-door meeting after lunch.” Not just the Opposition, even the ministers were kept waiting outside when the farmer organisation’s representatives and the chief minister met for around two hours in the latter’s ante-chamber.” This has raised suspicion that the whole meeting was a sort of match-fixing,” said the senior leader, who did not wish to be identified. The Kisan Sabha, affiliated to the CPI(M), led the protest march to Mumbai from Nashik, about 200km away, in support of their demands which included an unconditional loan waiver and transfer of forest land to tribal cultivators who have been tilling it for years. Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil of the Congress raised questions over senior CPI leader and former MLA Narsaiya Adam’s act to urge Fadnavis not to announce the details of the meeting in public. Adam had claimed the Opposition may bring a breach of privilege motion if the CM speaks outside the House about the meeting details, he said. The state legislature is currently having its budget session. “I and Ajit Pawar (senior NCP leader) assured him that we were ready to give him in writing that we will not bring such a motion.
However, he remained adamant on his stand,” Vikhe Patil said, speaking to select media persons. NCP leader Dhananjay Munde said the Opposition was never satisfied with the way the loan waiver scheme, announced by the BJP-led government last year, was being implemented.” The government assured farmers that their demand pertaining to forest land rights will be sorted out in six months. We were supporting the march but we were not its organisers.” The organisers seemed to be convinced with the government’s offer,” said Munde, who is Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council.