Maharashtra BJP's 72-hour-long hunger strike in Latur for aid to rain-hit farmers ends

The hunger strike ended hours after the Maharashtra government announced financial assistance for farmers whose crops were damaged

A 72-hour-long hunger strike led by BJP leaders, seeking financial assistance for farmers affected by heavy rains and floods in Maharashtra’s Marathwada region, including Latur district, concluded on Wednesday night with the opposition party vowing to keep fighting for the welfare of agriculturists.

The hunger strike started on Monday and ended hours after the Maharashtra government announced financial assistance of ₹10,000 crore for farmers whose crops were damaged due to heavy rains. The relief package drew criticism from BJP leaders, including Devendra Fadnavis.

“Agricultural crops on over 55 lakh hectares of land have been damaged due to the extremely heavy rainfall between June and October this year. To provide some assistance to farmers, the Maharashtra government has decided to give financial assistance of ₹10,000 crore to the affected farmers,” an official statement said in Mumbai.

However, in Latur, former State Minister and BJP MLA Sambhajirao Patil Nilangekar, who was part of the agitation, termed the aid as inadequate and said the MVA goverment has made "fun of farmers".

The BJP will continue to fight till farmers get justice, he said.

The hunger strike, led by Mr. Patil Nilangekar, had started at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Chowk in Latur with 127 farmers from the district.

The BJP leader lambasted NCP president Sharad Pawar, whose party is an ally in the MVA government, saying he has ignored the plight of farmers in Marathwada.

"The relief package announced by the government is not acceptable. The Chief Minister may have forgotten that Marathwada is part of Maharashtra," Mr. Patil Nilangekar said.

Although the hunger strike has concluded, a much stronger and bigger agitation in a different form will be launched in support of farmers in the future, he said.

The MVA government is "harassing" farmers for the last two years, Mr. Patil Nilangekar alleged.

As many as 14 farmers, out of the 127 who took part in the hunger strike, had to be admitted to hospitals after their health deteriorated and they fell unconscious.

Former CM Fadnavis, who virtually expressed support for the hunger strike, said the aid announced by the state government amounted to making mockery of farmers.

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