In past 15 days, eleven farmers, mainly in Saurashtra region which has had 92 per cent deficient rain, reportedly committed suicide due to crop failure.
On Tuesday, Gujarat BJP president R C Faldu allegedly said suicides were unfortunate, but the state government was not responsible for the deaths.
"If an industrialist's son makes an investment which turns bad, will the government be responsible for it?" Faldu had reportedly said.
The state BJP president today issues a statement denying that he had ever made such a remark. "People are spreading lies," he claimed.
Interestingly, State Agriculture Minister Dilip Sanghani had yesterday said, "Farmers have invested money in the crop which failed. It is not because of action or inaction of the government they have committed suicide."
In a strong reaction, Gujarat Congress president Arjun Modhwadia termed these statements "shocking" and demanded apology from the Modi government and resignation of Faldu from the post of state BJP president.
"Every third day a farmer in the state is committing suicide. This is very unfortunate. But our Chief Minister is busy with fairs, events. He should apologise to the farmers and immediately ask Faldu to step down," Modhwadia said.
"The way BJP president made fun regarding the farmers' deaths, it proves that there is drought of sensitiveness in this government," general secretary of Gujarat Parivartan Party, Gordhan Zadfia said.
"Modi government should publicly acknowledge the responsibility for farmers' suicides and should announce a relief package of minimum Rs 5,000 per acre," he said.