The newly elected BJP president Rajnath Singh has set the tone for the party’s stake for rule at the centre in the 2014 parliamentary elections.
Addressing a big gathering of farmers and farm workers at Bramhapuri in Chandrapur district, some 150 kms from Nagpur in eastern part of the state, Singh promised to rollback FDI in retail and restore fertilizer subsidy within the five years of coming to power at the Centre.
In an effort to strike a chord with the farmers, the BJP chief said when his party will form government at the Centre it would set up a regulatory authority to govern fertilizer prices, soil-seed testing laboratory in every district and restructure UPA government’s pet project -- the NREGA -- to include farm labour.
“The BJP will declare farming as a national occupation,” he said and added that the nation would never prosper if the villages and farmers remain poor. "The UPA government gives Rs. 22 lakh crore tax relief to industry and the rich, but withdrew fertilizer subsidy,” he said.
The prices of commodities were in check in the Atal Bihar Vajpayee-led NDA regime. “It was the NDA government that proposed a farm income insurance scheme where the farm income was fixed even before sowing was done and insurance companies were to compensate in case of crop failure. But along with other NDA initiated plans like linking of rivers, the insurance scheme was also dumped. Had they implemented the plans, no farmer would have been driven to commit suicide,” Singh claimed.
"The Congress has ruled the country for nearly six decades and the country has remained remained poor and underdeveloped. The UPA government and the Congress never fulfilled its promises,” he said.
As a case in point he referred to the Centre dilly-dallying on the separate Telangana issue. “An Andhra Pradesh court has asked registering cases of cheating against home minister Sushilkumar Shinde and finance minister Chidambaram for fail failing to keep promise of granting statehood to Telangana," said Rajnath. But BJP would fulfill all its promises, he said.
Singh also said that there was no clarity on part of the government on Telangana statehood. “The government should come out with concrete proposal when it would curve out Telangana from Andhra Pradesh and how?” he asked.
The long-pending Telanagana issue was again put in cold storage by the centre when the union Home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Sunday sought more time stating that the decision might get delayed as consultations with stake holders were still on and it might take time to reach a decision.
The Centre’s move shows that the Congress is not committed about granting statehood to Telangana, he said.
On the issue of Shinde linking terror strikes with the RSS and the BJP, Singh said it was an assault on the self respect of the nation. "No wonder LET chief Hafeez Saeed welcomed Shinde's statement and called India be declared a terrorist state. Shinde's remark has ruined the national pride. The BJP will seek his apology and retraction of the statement during the next Parliament session,” Singh said.
Former BJP chief Nitin Gadkari shared the dais with Singh. Gadkari said the farmers were paying for the wrong policies of the Congress.