Finance Minister P Chidambaram found himself in an uncomfortable position at least twice in the just-concluded Congress chief ministers conclave which saw the government and the party not exactly on the right wavelength on key issues concerning farmers.
Highly-placed party sources said Chidambaram had to face not-so-pleasant words from certain party leaders and chief ministers on rural credit and the need to waive bad debts of cooperative banks to help the farmers.
"When the nationalised banks run up huge non-performing assets, you waive them. So, what is wrong if you do the same for farmers at least once?" was the question posed to the Finance Minister, who had earlier spoken about the resource crunch.
Chidambaram's statement that the country could be in for a major foodgrains procurement crisis this year if proper steps were not taken also reportedly boomeranged.
A senior leader asked him why there was delay in announcing support prices for wheat last year at a time when multinationals were also allowed to enter the market for purchases.
When the Finance Minister cited resource crunch as the reason for not being able to double the outlay for agriculture, some leaders suggested government raise money by recovering the non-performing assets of nationalised banks which were to the tune of some Rs 1.5 lakh crore.
A senior leader expected the Government to come out with a new Agricultural policy soon in the light of the deliberations at the Nainital conclave.