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BJP Turns the Gun on Congress’ Farm Loan Waiver Promise in Madhya Pradesh

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi had stumped the BJP by announcing farm loan waiver in Mandsaur while attending condolence met of six farmers killed in police firing in June this year.

Vivek Trivedi | News18

Updated:November 22, 2018, 6:55 PM IST
BJP Turns the Gun on Congress’ Farm Loan Waiver Promise in Madhya Pradesh
File photo of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. (PTI Photo)

Bhopal: Farm loan waiver has emerged as a pivotal poll issue for the Bharatiya Janata Party, as most of its senior leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have continuously attacked the Congress saying its loan waiver offer was only a false promise.

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi had stumped the BJP by announcing farm loan waiver in Mandsaur while attending condolence met of six farmers killed in police firing in June this year. The party walked the talk by mentioning the announcement in its manifesto released early this month.

The BJP flayed the Congress announcement of farm loan waiver, part of Congress’ manifesto released on Nov 10, but the grand old party has taken to the promise with great vigour in the last few days.

It all started with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally on Nov 20 in Jhabua when he termed the Congress’ loan waiver offering a hollow promise.

“The Congress had promised farm loan waiver in Karnataka polls but never fulfilled the promise and now the debt ridden farmers were running away from villages after notices,” said the PM.

The PM alleged that the UPA had announced loan waiver to farmers in 2009, but huge sums of money was embezzled in scams like 2G, CWG, Chopper scam and Coal scam. Farm loans were not waived, he said.

On the very day the PM launched his attack, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan attacked the Congress, saying it only offers Vachan (promises). “Congress had promised to waive off farm loans in Punjab and Karnataka but never fulfilled the promise till now.”

A day earlier, party chief Amit Shah had claimed that the Congress had given away Rs 1300 cr farm loans at 18% while the BJP offered Rs 13000 cr loans at 0% interest rate.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who was in Bhopal on Nov 21 and called the Congress manifesto a post-dated cheque of an insolvent bank, also hit out at loan waiver promise. The Congress had promised it would write off loans of farmers, but the party did not fulfil the promise and now the farmers are getting notices from the banks.

Union minister Smriti Irani too jumped in the debate and at an election rally in Barwah said the Karnataka farmers were still awaiting a loan waiver after the Congress promised the same.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi makes a point to reiterate his loan waiver promise in every election rally, promising that the party won’t take more than 10 days to waive off farm loans.

Meanwhile former PM Dr Manmohan Singh, when asked about the farm loan waiver announcement by his party, said the Congress waived off loans but it did not affect the country’s budget as economy was in sound state. The limit of the waiver however should be determined by the viability of the financing system, Manmohan said.

Interestingly the BJP too had promised loan waiver before 2008 Assembly polls in MP but later turned to farmers’ welfare schemes after winning in 2008 and 2013.

Clarifying the party’s stand on loan waiver, BJP spokesperson Deepak Vijayvargiya told News18 that the party did announce loan waiver to farmers in the past but later realised that making them self-sufficient and capable was more important so that they could repay their debts on their own. So we introduced series of welfare measures bringing down agricultural loan interest rate to 0% and offered 10% loan subsidy, said Vijayvargiya. He said the party ended up spending more on this and other welfare schemes.

The Congress has rebuffed the BJP’s allegations.

Congress Ideation Cell in charge Bhupendra Gupta talking to News18 furnished media reports stating the Congress coalition government has waived off farm loans to the tune of Rs 38,000 cr. He responded in affirmative when asked if the loan waiver has emerged as a prominent poll issue in MP.

Clarifying on the bank notices being served to farmers in Karnataka, Gupta said banks were following their procedure as the loan waiver is not an overnight process and was in process of being executed in the southern state.

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| Edited by: Ashutosh Tripathi
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