Bihar agriculture minister Sudhakar Singh, who criticised own govt, resigns

Bihar agriculture minister Sudhakar Singh, who recently criticised his own government’s policies by questioning the agriculture road maps, has resigned, his father and Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Bihar president Jagdanand Singh said on Sunday.

“Someone needs to stand up for the farmers and the injustice being done to them. The agricultural minister took this up. Killing the mandi law (Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee Act) has destroyed the farmers of the state,” news agency ANI quoted Jagdanand Singh as saying.

The RJD MLA had also recently flagged the issue of corruption in his department and on Saturday, he said he would not allow the “continuation of BJP agenda” in his department with the formation of the Grand Alliance government in the state.

Singh said the statistics of the government itself indicate utter failure of the agriculture road maps in achieving their objectives on any count. “These are not my statistics. The figures of the agriculture department point to the failure of the roadmaps and there is no point the continuing with them without taking required corrective measures. At least, as agriculture minister, I cannot give an extension to this road map. The government may make some other department the nodal department if it wants to extend the third agriculture road map beyond 2022,” he said.

The first agriculture road map was launched in 2008 with a small budget, while former President Pranab Mukhejee had launched the second agriculture roadmap in 2012 for the state with the aim of ushering in a ‘Rainbow Revolution’ in the state. In 2017, former president Ram Nath Kovind launched the third, which the NDA government in Bihar had decided to extend beyond 2022. Then, the agriculture ministry was with the BJP. The last two roadmaps for agriculture together had a budget of nearly 3 lakh crore.

Pointing out that he will not rest till the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act and ‘mandi’ system are restored, Singh had said the decision of scrapping them in 2006 was “anti-farmer” in nature.

The Nitish Kumar government in Bihar had repealed the APMC Act and ‘mandi’ (wholesale markets for agricultural produce) in 2006 during NDA rule in the state.

“Being the state agriculture minister, I will not allow continuation of BJP agenda in the agriculture department after the formation of the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ government in the state,” news agency PTI quoted Singh as saying.

“Scrapping the APMC Act and mandi in 2006 was a decision that was anti-farmer in nature. The ‘Mahagathbandhan’ government in the state should work to fulfilling the promises made by our alliance partners to the electorate,” he added.

A first-time MLA from Ramgarh in Kaimur district, Singh recently stirred up a controversy when he said that all his department officials are “thieves and thereby being head of the department he is head of the thieves”.

During his interactions with the Union ministers Singh said he would also apprise them about the new fertiliser policy of Bihar that is being drafted, he added.

(With inputs from agencies)

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