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The Congress today demanded that the government announces a loan waiver for farmers across the country as was done by the UPA in 2006 and not just for Uttar Pradesh where the BJP has returned to power with a bang. The party said it would welcome loan waiver for farmers in Uttar Pradesh as promised by the BJP and the new Congress government in Punjab would fulfil its promise made to the state's farmers. "We welcome the Prime Minister's decision to waive loans of farmers of Uttar Pradesh, but at the same time he should do so for the farming community in all states," Congress leader Pratap Singh Bajwa told reporters. "The Prime Minister should think about waiving the loans of all farmers of the country. Farmers from Kashmir to Kanyakumari should be benefitted. Please do not focus only on Uttar Pradesh where you have won and got a good result," he said. Bajwa said farm loan waiver is necessary for the farmers of Punjab who have been contributing the maximum to the central pool to feed millions of Indians for the last 70 years. The Congress' Rajya Sabha MP claimed the Centre has earned Rs 2 lakh crore by imposing taxes on petroleum products despite importing crude oil at low price and said the government can afford to use that money for farm loan waiver. About Congress' promise of waiving farm loans in Punjab, Bajwa asserted that the party's government there is committed to the cause of farmers. He said, "We have promised to waive Rs 67,000 crore in Punjab. We will do that in the next five years." Asked how Punjab, which was almost bankrupt, would manage the finances, Bajwa said, "Punjab is not bankrupt.
The policies of the Akali government were bankrupt because everything was going into the pockets of the most corrupt government." "Punjab would be back on its own feet within five years. The economy is coming back and we are committed to extending this loan waiver of Rs 67,000 crore," he said. "This is the commitment of the Government of Punjab. We will do it. We will find the ways and means to do it," Bajwa said and claimed the Congress is committed to the cause of farmers and Rs 77,000 crore farm loan was waived during the UPA rule.
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