Congress on Tuesday downplayed the claim that President Pratibha Patil was behind the government's ambitious farm loan waiver scheme, saying inputs for it had come from diverse quarters.
Party spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi was commenting on a remark by the Secretary to the President Christy Fernandes that Patil had given advice to the government for initiating appropriate mechanism by which the plight of the farmers could be addressed. Congress has maintained that the scheme was its brainchild.
Fernandes, who had made the observation in the presence of Patil, had said not many people know that it was the President who spearheaded and gave advice to the government that it must have appropriate mechanism by which the plight of the farmers could be addressed and that resulted in the massive loan waiver programme of the previous government.
Singhvi said, "The comments are being misinterpreted. Broad issues of public interest like farm loan waiver have inputs from diverse quarters. All inputs together form the final policy".
Crediting the scheme to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Secretary, AICC Media Department, Tom Vadakkan said, "It is Mrs Gandhi and Mrs Gandhi herself (who is) behind the whole farmers' strengthening process that has been launched by the Congress."