Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Grand event for Thakre has Tiwari fuming
Publication: Times Of India Nagpur; Date: Aug 28, 2008;

Nagpur: A grand event slated for Friday at Yavatmal to welcome newly-appointed president of Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee Manikrao Thakre has kicked off a controversy with farmers' leader Kishor Tiwari questioning the propriety of the lavish show in the district known as the epicentre of the farmers' suicide crisis in Vidarbha.

The function to be held at Azad Maidan will be attended by chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, new chairman of the Congress campaign committee Gurudas Kamat, Mumbai Congress' new chief Kripashankar Singh as well as MPCC's new working president Jayant Awale. It will be the first formal function in Vidarbha to welcome all the newly appointed state party leaders. Since Yavatmal is the home district of Thakre, the district's party unit has sought to host the function.

Criticising the Congress for holding the mega event, Tiwari, who is also the president of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti, has threatened to storm the venue with a large number of widows of the farmers who have committed suicide. He has also threatened to take up the matter with AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi who brought into national focus the plight of widow Kalavati and farm labourer Shashikala in his parliamentary speech on July 22 during the trust vote debate.

But Thakre was unimpressed. "What's wrong with it? It's a party function and people of my district are welcoming me," he said. Talking to ToI from Mumbai on Wednesday, Thakre said the function stands and the chief minister and other dignitaries will be attending it. "Actually, I have no idea about the scale of arrangements for the function. But I expect it to be a normal party affair," said Thakre, justifying the event.

However, Tiwari thinks otherwise. "A grand function is being arranged and the Congress is mobilising lakhs of people to gather crowds for the extravaganza for which huge amount of money is being spent," said Tiwari. "This Congress event is nothing by rubbing salt on the wounds of the suicide-hit people of the district," said Tiwari in a press statement.

"Over a thousand farmers have committed suicide in Yavatmal district, largely because of the economic distress caused by the Congress-led government's wrong policy decisions relating to agriculture. But instead on providing a healing touch, the Congress is engaged in a wasteful show off of its strength," remarked Tiwari. He also claimed to have persuaded the Congress leaders from scaling down the event, but in vain.

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