The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) on Saturday formally launched their campaign for the 2009 Lok Sabha polls with promises to raise the minimum support price (MSP) for paddy to Rs 1,100 per quintal, ensure low cost farm loans and do justice with security personnel in pay fixation.
Led by NDA’s prime ministerial candidate Lal Krishna Advani, top NDA leaders made these promises at their first Vijay Sankalp rally in the Jat heartland in Sonepat after the return of Om Prakarst Chautala's Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) into the fold. Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and Orissa CM Naveen Patnaik, however, did not turn up for the rally.
Addressing the rally, BJP president Rajnath Singh said: “Though terrorism has no religion, the Congress has associated it with the Muslim community. In their efforts to appease the community, they are not taking any action against terrorists. It is not that there were no terror attacks during our rule but we gave them a befitting reply.”
About the farm sector, Singh said the NDA will make farm loans available at four per cent interest rate, besides raising the MSP for paddy to Rs 1,100 per quintal.
Urging voters to stem out the present UPA regime for failing to curb rising prices, terrorism and corruption, Advani said the NDA had kept the prices under check and dealt during its tenure despite the economic sanctions imposed by the United States after the Pokhran tests.
He said more than two lakh farmers had committed suicide in the last four-and-a-half years of the UPA government.
INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala accused PMManmohan Singh, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia of being more worried about the share markets than the farm sector. He also slammed the Centre for the manner in which cultivable land of farmers was being given to for setting up Special Economic Zones (SEZs).