With the crucial 2019 Lok Sabha poll only a few months away, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday attacked the Congress over the party’s pre-poll loan waiver promises terming it as pre-election “lollypop” to beguile electorate for votes.
Referring to Karnataka, where the coalition of Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) is in power, Modi said “lakhs” of state farmers were promised farm loan waiver before the election, but later only 800 farmers could benefit under the scheme.
“This is how Congress, which formed the government in Karnataka by getting backdoor entry, deceives the farmers. Now, the police have been unleashed to recoup the loan,” he claimed adding actions based on short terms political goals cannot solve the country’s problems.
The PM was addressing a public meeting at Ghazipur district in the presence of union minister of state for railways and local Member of Parliament (MP) Manoj Sinha, UP governor Ram Nai, chief minister Yogi Adityanath among others.
Modi also mentioned the urea shortage and lathi-charge being faced by the farmers in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan to buttress his purported anti-farmer slug on Congress, which had recently wrested power from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in these states following state polls.
“The farmers in these states are now facing urea and fertiliser shortage and the black marketers are out in the open with the change of government,” he noted.
The PM made mention of the 2009 Lok Sabha, when Congress had retained power at the Centre, saying at that time, the agricultural loans totalled Rs 6 trillion pan-India, however, the Congress government only waived loans worth Rs 600 billion leaving most farmers high and dry.
“Later, the CAG report had claimed 3.5 million beneficiaries were either not eligible for the loan waiver or were not farmers in the first place. Other farmers were not given waiver certificates with the result that their loan accounts continued to add interest and they had to repay their principal loan amount with interest,” he said.
The recent spectre of loan waivers in Congress ruled states has put pressure on the Modi government to match the largesse ahead of the 2019 poll lest the farm distress add to its woes of anti-incumbency.
Recalling the achievements of his government, he said the Centre had hiked the minimum support price (MSP) of 22 important crops even as he mentioned that the work to integrate farmers with industry, food processing and warehousing for doubling the farm income was on.
Modi promised to make Purvanchal (eastern UP) as a healthcare hub in near future with new medical and health infrastructure, apart from cargo and transport infra.
He unveiled a commemorative postal stamp on Maharaj Suheldev, a pantheon of the backwards community. Later, Modi is scheduled to visit his parliamentary constituency of Varanasi.