Mumbai, May 20: Describing the price rise of fertilizers as "unfortunate", Maharashtra Congress President Nana Patole on Wednesday demanded that the Central government should immediately roll back the price hike. Patole also said if the Central government fails to roll back the price hike, his party will stage a state wide protest.

Patole said, "The central government has hiked the prices of fertilizers amid the Covid-19 crisis. As a result, the already distressed farmers are in a state of panic. The central government should immediately withdraw the hike, or else Congress will launch a state wide agitation."

Patole further stated that the BJP is consistently misleading people. "BJP leaders have written to the Union Chemical and Fertilizers Minister, DV Sadananda Gowda, drawing his attention to the hike in fertilizer prices and also requested him to lower the prices. On one hand, the BJP-led Central government is increasing the prices, and on the other its ministers are writing to the Union Chemical and Fertilizers Minister to lower the prices. The 50 kg sack of DAP, which used to cost Rs1,200, will now be available at Rs 1,900. This shows that BJP is not a party of farmers,'' he claimed.

Patole’s announcement came a day after former union agriculture minister and NCP chief Sharad Pawar wrote to DV Sadananda Gowda demanding a roll-back of increase in fertilizer prices. Farmers are reeling under "one of the worst ever" crises as the coronavirus pandemic has impacted people's livelihoods, he said in the letter.

"But I have learned that instead of extending a helping hand to this distressed community, the Central Government has taken a decision to increase the prices of fertilizers exponentially," said Pawar.

Earlier, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and State Agriculture Minister Dadaji Bhuse had demanded an immediate rollback of hike in fertilizer prices in a bid to provide much-needed relief to the farmers who are hit hard by the lockdown.

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