Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday termed the farmer as the Congress party’s annadata and lashed out at the BJP and its erstwhile ally, the Telugu Desam Party, for doing nothing for the country’s farmers during six years of NDA rule.
Addressing a farmers’ rally at Jaggampeta town in East Godavari after dedicating the first phase of the Rs 600-crore lift irrigation project, Sonia Gandhi questioned the BJP and the TDP’s credentials to champion the cause of farmers. “Today, those very leaders of BJP, TDP and NDA, who claim to feel for our farmers, are criticising us. Why did they not give such a huge loan waiver to farmers when they were in power? What they are saying is sheer hypocrisy,” she thundered.
She quoted Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh saying recently that if the farmers have suffered for so many years, there is only one reason and it is the wrong policies of NDA supported by the TDP. She recalled in the four years of the UPA government, the minimum support price of rice has been increased by Rs 190 per quintal. When the BJP-led NDA, supported by TDP, was in government at the Centre, the MSP for rice was raised only by Rs 60 per quintal throughout their six years in government.
“There are some farmers who feel they have been let down. I am glad the Chief Minister (Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy) has announced his government will take care of farmers who, for some reason, are not going to benefit from this historic programme,” she added. “Whatever we are doing, in the UPA government or the Congress government at the state level, is our way of repaying the debt to farmers,” she said.
In the evening, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi inaugurated the country’s swankiest new airport built at a cost of Rs 2470 crore at Shamshabad, about 30 kms from Hyderabad. She had laid the foundation for the new airport on March 16, 2005.