47-year-old Alka Chayare was inconsolable as she hugged her husband's body on being told about his suicide. Shankar Bhaurao Chayare , 50, of Rajurwadi village in Yavatmal District committed suicide by drinking poison after an attempt to hang himself failed. His daughter said, "He wasn't speaking to anyone at home and kept to himself. He was worried about how he would pay for our education and make ends meet. In the note he has written that he is killing himself because of loans and the Narendra Modi government is responsible."The suicide note has been sent to handwriting experts to verify its authenticity, a senior police official told news agency PTI. The farmer's daughter submitted it to the police last night.
Chayare leaves behind who has three daughters and a son owed around Rs 1.40 lakh to banks and private money lenders. His ability to repay his creditors was affected after his cotton crop was damaged due to a pink bollworm attack. Agriculture experts estimate that between 50% to 80%per cent in Yavatmal district may have been damaged and losses are expected to run into about ₹12,000 crore.Last month during the massive farmers' protest, the compensation demanded for pink bollworm affected crops was Rs 40,000 per acre. The government has announced compensation of Rs 30,000 per acre.
Devanand Pawar, who heads the Farmers Committee for Justice in the area told NDTV, "When we met the family they told us that till the time the Modi government takes responsibility for his suicide and does not provide help we will not take the dead body and perform last rites. The Farmers' Committee for justice will take this up and stand by the family."
Pawar claims this is the second time a farmer who has killed himself after blaming the government for their situation. According to government figures 11,370 farmers committed in 2016 and the most among them is in Maharashtra where 3661 farmers took their lives.Kishore Tiwari, who heads the Maharashtra government's task force on agriculture distress, and met the distressed family today says the situation is bad. "In Vidarbha and Marathwada the government's policies of compensation, loan waiver and fair prices are not being implemented properly. The farmers feel all this is only on paper. Farmers are in distress and they need help and I have told this to the government repeatedly," the chairperson of the State Agriculture Mission told NDTV.
The agrarian distress in Maharashtra has the potential to change the political fortunes of any party in the state. In 2014 the BJP performed impressively in rural Maharashtra as it promised relief from crisis. In 2019, if the party does not address these issues the story may be very different, political observers warn.