New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech in Meerut on Thursday, kicking off his 2019 Lok Sabha election campaign, has not gone down well with Opposition parties in the state, who lashed out his ‘drama’ and ‘language’, as also cashing in on the popularity of farmer leader and former Prime Minister Chaudhry Charan Singh to win over Jat votes.
In his speech, Modi paid tribute the ‘tall’ leader, but lambasted his party, the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) and its leader Ajit Singh, son of Charan Singh, who has aligned with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) in the Lok Sabha election.
Addressing the gathering, Modi targeted the alliance of SP-BSP-RLD , "Sapa (SP) ka 'sha', RLD ka 'Raa' aur Baspa (BSP) ka 'ba', matlab 'SaRaB'...Sapa, RLD, Baspa, ye ' SaRaB' aapko barbaad kar degi (SARAB will ruin you, he said alluding to alcohol)."
Lashing out at the PM, Meraj Uddin Ahmed, national general secretary of the RLD, told Newsclick: "Before coming to power, Modi had promised that he will raise funds in the name of iconic leader Chaudhary Charan Singh and the amount will be used for farmers. He came to power, became Prime Minister and roamed around the word, but forgot about the fund.”
He said Modi had completed five years of his tenure, “but he never remembered him (Charan Singh), not even on his birthday. Instead, the government along with the police forcefully got Chaudhary Charan Singh's residence on Tughlaq Road vacated, where a museum in his honour was supposed to be built."
He pointed out that had the PM been so concerned about farmers, he would have mentioned them in his speech in Meerut. "Modi government has exploited farmers. Farmers in western UP with 400-500 bigha fields, do not have a single penny to pay their children’s fee. Modi has silently handicapped farmers. He is in Meerut, but has not spoken a single word for farmers”, he said, adding that “Chaudhary Charan Singh's dream was to see farmers’ development but Modi has broken that dream.”
Cane Farmers Overlooked
The RLD leader also pointed out that while the PM was addressing people in the sugarcane belt, he did not utter a single word on that, but on unnecessary topics,” adding that farmers of western Uttar Pradesh will teach a lesson to Modi in this election."
Abdul Hafiz Gandhi, spokesperson of Samajwadi Party, said, "Modiji, the real respect to Chaudhary Charan Singhji will be when your government in Uttar Pradesh pays the dues of ganna (cane)farmers. During 2017, UP Assembly election, the BJP promised in its Sankalp Patra that it will clear all sugarcane dues within 14 days of coming to power. Now two years have passed, yet sugarcane dues of Rs 10,000 crores have not been cleared.”
Speaking with Newsclick, NK Shukla, Joint Secretary, All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), said, "Till now, approximately Rs 10,000-crore are due of sugarcane farmers on sugar mills in Uttar Pradesh. Sugar mills have not paid the farmers their due since long.”
He said intermittently, the Modi government announced that they had allocated a few crore given to the mills, but the amount never reached the farmers and again the PM did not speak single word on that.
Shukla said there was a law of the 1966 Sugar Control Act, according to which within 14 days payment should be done. If this is not done, it is the District Magistrate's responsibility of that area to force to the mill to pay the farmers. But this law is never implemented, he said.
PM Modi, when he was speaking in the sugarcane belt, should have spoken on these issues, rather than on ‘surgical strikes’ and other issues, he added.
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