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Farmer deaths: For Punjab, Haryana caution is buzzword

CHANDIGARH: Punjab and Haryana governments have no option but to tread with caution. Seasoned bureaucrats say if they acknowledge farmer deaths, there can be a rise in the trend, resulting in more suicides. “But how will they stop a farmer from getting a heart attack once he witnesses complete destruction on his fields?” asks Bhartiya Kisan Union National President and former member of Parliament Bhupinder Singh Mann. As per the surveys conducted by the three universities in Punjab — Panjab Agriculture University in Ludhiana, Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar and Punjab University in Patiala — in 11 districts of Punjab till 2011, almost 6,926 farmers and farm labourers committed suicide from 2000 to 2011.
“This is the first major issue that has put the prime minister on the back foot. In states like Punjab, where assembly elections are due in 2017, this is the beginning of the end of Modi juggern .. “This is the first major issue that has put the prime minister on the back foot. In states like Punjab, where assembly elections are due in 2017, this is the beginning of the end of Modi juggernaut,” says Political Scientist Prof Surinder Shukla at Panjab University. For the Badal government in Punjab and the BJP-led Khattar Government in Haryana, the issue is like a hot potato.

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