Bhopal: Congress MLA Lakshman Singh, brother of senior party leader and former chief minister Digvijaya Singh, on Wednesday said former party president Rahul Gandhi should not have made the 10-day farm loan waiver promise ahead of the Assembly elections in the state.
Lakshman Singh told News18 that Gandhi's promise, for all practical reasons, could not have been fulfilled.
“Waiving loans worth Rs 45,000 crore in 10 days wasn’t possible, but still if he (Rahul) made a promise, we should seek forgiveness from the public,” said the Chachoda MLA. He said he believed that if more vows were made to suppress that one unfulfilled promise, it could have an adverse effect.
“If we could not fulfill our promise, we should simply apologise to the public,” said Lakshman Singh, urging the Kamal Nath-led government to clarify when the entire loan amount of farmers would be waived.
The former MP, who in the past had switched over to the BJP before returning to his parent party, said banks continue to charge 18% interest on waived-off loan amounts of farmers on the ground that they were yet to receive any information on the same.
Lakshman Singh said although numbers and details of loan waivers given out by the government were true, helpless farmers, after being turned away by bankers, were being forced to approach lawmakers for help. “When I contact the collector and the bank concerned, they simply say they are yet to receive the waived-off sums and the situation is more or less the same everywhere,” he said.
Congress spokesperson Bhupendra Gupta said Lakshman Singh had not raised any question on the government’s claims and was only underlining the farmers’ hassles as the second phase of loan waiver was yet to begin.
When asked about his comment regarding Gandhi's poll promise, Gupta said, “It is quite clear Rahul Gandhi had meant that a decision in this regard would be taken in 10 days, which the chief minister took in an hour-and-a-half.”
Although the BJP has criticised Nath over the issue for months, this is for the first time that a ruling party MLA has made such a statement.
Lakshman Singh, however, is not new to controversies and has often embarrassed the Congress in the past. He is yet to regain his space in the party organisation since his return from the BJP and his hopes of securing a ministerial berth were dashed allegedly by his own brother, Digvijaya Singh, last year.