Senior Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil today said the loan waiver granted by the erstwhile UPA government in 2007 had resulted into 80 per cent drop in suicides by farmers in subsequent years.
"After the announcement of loan waiver in 2007 by then Union government, farmers' suicides came down by 80%. We have been in power and figures before the loan waiver issued by Union government clearly indicates that farmers' suicides have come down by 80% in subsequent years," the Leader of Opposition in the state Legislative Assembly said.
"It means that the loan waiver offer had achieved some success. This is why we are now demanding that the BJP-Shiv Sena government in Maharashtra should also take the similar action," he said.
Vikhe Patil was speaking to reporters after holding a joint meeting with the leaders of all Opposition parties.
The Congress and the NCP have been stridently demanding complete loan waiver for farmers on the floor of legislature and are being joined by the members of Shiv Sena.
Vikhe Patil said that loan waiver was the most crucial decision state can take at this moment "in view of suicides committed by at least 9,000 farmers in state."
When asked about Sena's support to the demand, Vikhe Patil said, "Loan waiver is our demand from day one. If any other party wishes to join us, we welcome them. But we are not banking on their support."
Meanwhile, senior NCP leader Jayant Patil has dismissed a proposal by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to form a delegation comprising leaders from Opposition to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi for seeking package for farmers.
"Similar methods have been used by the same government in the last two years and we were misled. The BJP is in the power in the state as well as at the Centre. It is up to their leaders now to grant and implement loan waiver," he said.
Justifying the loan waiver demand, he said the state government can directly pay to farmers rather than giving the amount to banks.
"We believe in farmers. If government pays farmers, they will use the money to repay their debt..Just pass a one-line resolution that farmers' loans will be waived off and Opposition parties will cooperate with the government in its functioning," Patil said.
Responding to a query, the former state Finance Minister said the BJP has not yet taken any decision on granting reservation to Dhangar (shepherd) community though they had promised to do so in first Cabinet meeting after coming to power.
"This shows the seriousness of the government towards the issues of people and communities," Patil said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)