The BJP has cancelled its statewide “jail bharo” agitation slated for February 24 following rise in Covid-19 cases across Maharashtra. The protest aimed to show solidarity with the poor and farmers who are being “subjected to harassment by the state”.
BJP general secretary and former power minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule on Monday said, “The party has called off the jail bharo andolan following increase in Covid-19 cases. We will reschedule the new date for the agitation after monitoring the situation.”
Bawankule said, “Power Minister Nitin Raut promised free electricity to people using up to 100 units. Besides, he had also promised to waive the electricity bill during the lockdown period between April and July 2020. But none of these promises have been fulfilled.”
To the contrary, he added, the Maha Vikas Aghadi government has disconnected power connections of more than 70 lakh households for non-payment of dues.
“The government’s decision to disconnect power supply adversely hit small and marginal farmers who are reeling under financial crisis. Instead of helping the poor and farmers by waiving off the power tariff, the state is punishing them for pending dues,” he added.
The BJP general secretary said, “We appeal to the government to convene a meeting and take a decision on free electricity up to 100 units and bill waiver for four months during the lockdown.”
The free power up to 100 units will benefit 1.4 crore people, he added. “The decision will cost the government an additional expenditure of Rs 5,800 crore. The provision can be made in the 2021-22 budget.”
“Electricity bill waiver for those who have used power between 100 and 300 units will benefit 51 lakh people. The government will have to make a provision of Rs 5,000 crore for its implementation in the coming budget,” the former power minister said.
Bawankule argued that the financial constrains confronting the government will not impact the power sops.