CM's statement on farmer's suicide sparks controversy

CM's statement on farmer's suicide sparks controversy

The suicide of farmer Vithal Arabhavi in November last year has come back to haunt the Congress government. It is now snowballing into a political controversy.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah reportedly said on Wednesday that the farmer had died due to excessive consumption of liquor and that his government was not responsible for the farmer’s death. The Opposition parties have turned it into an election issue.

On Thursday, Siddavva, Arabhavi’s widow, said, “Siddaramaiah is responsible for the death of my husband. Farmers, including my husband, had been protesting for three days for better sugar cane prices. But the government did not relent. This drove my husband to take the extreme step.”

The chief minister’s statement that the government was not responsible for the farmer’s suicide has hurt the family, she said at her house at Kankanwadi in Raibag taluk.
The farmer’s family claims that he had consumed poison as the government did respond to the protests.

Siddavva said that her husband used to consume liquor occasionally, but was not addicted to it and also did not have debts. “If he had any problem, he would have committed suicide in the village itself.” She demanded that the government provide employment to her son.

Making statements against her husband does not behove the chief minister’s dignity, she said. Farmers’ leader Basayya Pujari demanded that the chief minister should apologise for his statement and resign.

He cautioned that farmers would intensify their protests against Siddaramaiah.

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