Tuesday’s session of the legislative council was adjourned after the Opposition refused to accept chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’ decision to not waive loans for farmers.
During a debate on the issue, a combative Fadnavis kept criticising the Congress-NCP government for the increasing number of farmer suicides in the state.
NCP and Congress leaders said the BJP government cannot keep pointing to the past, and not take action to arrest the situation now. The agrarian crisis — sparked by a series of natural calamities — has driven more than 1,000 farmers to suicide in Vidarbha and Marathwada since the start of the year.
Fadnavis reiterated the announcement he made in the state Assembly on Monday, when he announced a five-year, Rs25,000-crore sustainable development plan for agriculture, which will be funded by raising taxes, instead of waiving loans for farmers.
He said the Congress-NCP government had misused the previous loan waivers, which is why farmers remained deprived.
“If you cannot be accountable for the past 15 years, then I cannot be asked for answers about the past few months,” he said.
This started off a slugfest between Fadnavis, NCP legislator Sunil Tatkare and Congress legislator Manikrao Thakre.
Thakre said the government cannot pass off its inability to contain the current farmer crisis caused by the lack of rains by blaming the previous government.
“You cannot keep quoting the waivers given earlier. There have to be short-term solutions, not just long-term plans to solve this issue. Enough is enough,” Tatkare told Fadnavis.
Thakre said the Congress will not stop agitating until the CM announces relief for farmers.
“We will not listen to these empty promises. The government has to make some concrete announcements. We will keep our protest going till then,” Thakre said.