Bhopal: The farm loan waiver, promised by the Congress has taken centre stage in Madhya Pradesh, as 16 of the parliamentary constituencies dominated by farmers go for polls on May 12 and 19.
The BJP leaders in their rallies have been alleging that the Congress’ claim that government has waived farm loans of 20 lakh farmers is false. During a recently held rally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, ‘The Congress is spreading lies in the name of loan waiver.’
Former Minister Narottam Mishra went to the extent of saying that he “will give Rs 2 lakh, if Congress shows a single certificate of loan waiver.”
Leader of opposition and senior BJP leader Gopal Bhargav had claimed he would call it a day from politics if the Congress showed a single certificate of loan waiver. Besides, former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan also attacked the Congress over the issue and said the Congress was betraying farmers.
Miffed with the BJP leaders’ constant claim and to answer the BJP’s allegation, Congress leaders on May 7 led by Suresh Pachauri reached Chouhan’s house, carrying bundles of documents on their heads to prove that the Kamal Nath government has waived loans of over 21 lakh farmers. It took two jeeps to transport all the papers.
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Earlier, Congress leaders had given a list of 2 lakh farmers to Narottam Mishra to answer his allegation.
“We have handed Chouhan a list of 21 lakh farmers whose loans have been waived and in whose accounts money has been deposited. The list is available on the agriculture portal as well. Guess he doesn't know how to access it,” Nath said.
“He (Shivraj) calls himself a farmer’s son and yet he kicked farmers in their stomach and fired bullets at their chests. I don’t need a certificate from Chouhan. People of this state will give me my certificate,” said Nath at a press conference.
What’s more, the CM said the Election Commission had granted his government permission to resume the loan waiver process in areas where polling was over.
The CM showed a letter from the Election Commission, dated May 7, and said: “The government has just received a letter that gives us permission to implement the rest of the scheme in areas where elections have concluded. Thirteen of the 29 Lok Sabha seats have already voted. We now have the EC’s permission to implement the scheme wherever elections are over.”
Nath told reporters that he’d left campaigning halfway and rushed to Bhopal in the afternoon when he came to know about the “lies being spread by the BJP”.
“The state agriculture department portal has district-wise details and list of all beneficiaries under Kisan Wrin Mukti Yojana. But, I suppose, Chouhan does not know how to access a portal. That is why we had to send bundles of documents on farm loan waiver beneficiaries to him,” Nath said.
Also see: MP Farmers Ready for Upcoming Elections
The crop loan waiver — announced by AICC chief Rahul Gandhi ahead of the 2018 assembly polls — is seen as a game changer that propelled the Congress to power in MP. It became part of the manifesto, which promised to waive agriculture loans of up to Rs 2 lakh. After the polls, the BJP — now pushed to the opposition benches — began accusing the Congress of going back on its promise of waiving loans within 10 days of forming the government. Chouhan accused the government of “betraying farmers”.
The Congress says 50 lakh farmers are registered under the scheme and 21 lakh have already received the waiver benefit — including family members of some BJP leaders. The scheme had to be put on hold due to the model code of conduct.
Replying to the Congress, hours after Congress leaders handed over a list of farmers whose loans have been waived, former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said the Congress had dumped “bundles of lies” at his doorstep on the agriculture loan waiver.
“Congress leaders dumped bundles of documents at my residence in reply to my allegation on false promises of farm loan waiver. But these are bundles of lies. Several farmers have been handed bank notices to repay debts,” Chouhan told reporters.
Chouhan said the Congress government is supposed to pay a whopping Rs 48,000 crore to farmers, but “has paid only Rs 13,000 crore so far”. Farmers have received messages from the CM’s office that the loan waiver process has been be stalled till the model code of conduct is in force in the state.