Political Row Erupts as Maharashtra Government Shuts Down State Over Lakhimpur Kheri Violence

© AFP 2022 / DIBYANGSHU SARKARLeftist students shout slogans against India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a protest in Kolkata on October 4, 2021, after at least nine people were killed the day before in an incident involving protesting farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri district of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
Leftist students shout slogans against India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a protest in Kolkata on October 4, 2021, after at least nine people were killed the day before in an incident involving protesting farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri district of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.10.2021
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The opposition parties of India have been attacking the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-led government after four farmers died in the Lakhimpur Kheri region of Uttar Pradesh state a week ago. An SUV, allegedly owned by a federal minister, Ajay Kumar Mishra, and driven by his son, Ashish Mishra, ran into the protesters.
A week after four farmers died in the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled Uttar Pradesh State in India, the government in the western state of Maharashtra announced a statewide shutdown on Monday in solidarity with the farmers.
Maharashtra is ruled by the Shiv Sena-led alliance, which is the archrival of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in its state.
The Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government - comprising the Shiv Sena, Congress, and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) - announced the shutdown at a joint press conference of the three parties on 11 October.

"I request the 120 million people of Maharashtra to support the farmers. Support means that all of you will join the shutdown and stop your work for a day," Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik told reporters on Monday.

The state government said everything will be closed except for essential services. The Agricultural Produce Market Committee and vegetable market will also be shut.

Government's Shutdown Call Sparks Political Row With BJP

The BJP, being the main opposition party in Maharashtra, condemned the statewide shutdown urged by the Shiv Sena-led government.
Former state chief and senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis has accused the MVA alliance of making political capital out of the Lakhimpur Kheri incident in Uttar Pradesh state.
BJP politician Nitesh Rane also warned against the forceful closure of shops and markets by workers of the MVA.
Meanwhile, there were mixed reactions on the statewide shutdown on social media.
Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Uttar Pradesh state unit president Ajay Kumar Lallu and other party workers also observed a silent protest in Uttar Pradesh's capital, Lucknow. They demanded that federal minister for Home Affairs, Ajay Kumar Mishra resign.
Congress party president Ajay Kumar Lallu said in a tweet in Hindi: “A silent protest continues at the Gandhi statue in Lucknow demanding the arrest of those responsible for the massacre of farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri and dismissal of Federal minister for Home Affairs, Ajay Mishra Teni.”
The youth wing of India's main opposition party, Congress, on Saturday staged a protest outside Home Minister Amit Shah’s residence, demanding the resignation of Ajay Mishra.
As many as eight people, including four farmers, were killed on 3 October in the Lakhimpur Kheri region after a protest by farmers demanding revocation of three farm laws turned bloody. The farmers have alleged that vehicles owned by a federal minister deliberately ran them over without any provocation.
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