Squarely blaming Narendra Modi and the central government for the farm crisis in the country, Rahul Gandhi has said that the Prime Minister should spend time with farmers instead of touring foreign countries.
Speaking to reporters on Friday at Mandya district, where 56 farmers have committed suicide since April this year, the Congress vice-president said, “The central government doesn’t think farmers are important. Whether on the issue of MSP (minimum support price) or compensation for crop loss, the Central government has shown that these things are not a priority.”
Accusing the Modi-led central government of ignoring the needs of non-BJP ruled states, he said that states such as Maharashtra has received a substantial relief package for its farmers while Karnataka has been ignored.
Asked about the farm suicides that occurred during the two-term rule of the Congress-led UPA government, he said, “The issue is about how sensitive the government is toward farmers. When the UPA was in power, Rs 70,000 crore of farm loans were waived off. Farmers were supported. That’s what is lacking in the government.”
Earlier, he visited the families of two farmers who had committed suicide and gave them cheques of Rs 1 lakh each.
These visits were not without controversy. BJP workers held a black flag protest at Padakanahalli village of Mandya and accused Rahul of playing politics over the dead bodies of farmers. The protestors, who were promptly arrested, said that two farmers had killed themselves in the village but Rahul visited only one. They alleged that the other family was ignored because they were BJP supporters.
Separately, farmers groups staged a protest against the State government in Mandya to coincide with Rahul’s visit. In a memorandum, the Mandya Farmers’ Struggle Committee said that the crisis in the sugar bowl district had been caused by factories and accused the State government of supporting the powerful sugar factory lobby. The memorandum also said that the state government had not delivered on several poll time promises intended to safeguard the interests of farmers.
Modi’s strategy is to polarise Hindus, Muslims
Rahul Gandhi has said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP have an old strategy of polarising society.
Speaking on the Dadri lynching case during his visit to Mandya on Friday, he said, “Strategy of making Hindus and Muslims fight with each other is an old strategy of the BJP and the PM. In Dadri, it is now clear that BJP people were involved. In every election, there is polarisation and riots taking place.”
Mocking Modi’s recent calls for communal harmony, he said, “It is very nice for the PM to make comments but he also has a history. He says one thing and his party colleagues are behaving in the opposite manner which he doesn’t seem to want to stop.”