'Rahul cannot match PM Modi's popularity by 2-day train travel'

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Rohtak
  • Updated: May 01, 2015 23:06 IST

Union rural development minister Birender Singh on Friday said Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi could not match the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi by travelling two days in a train.

"In fact, Modi ji is doing a wonderful job by linking poor and farmers with the country's economy, and you will see the results soon. But Rahul cannot beat Modi's popularity in the country by travelling two days in a train," Singh told Hindustan Times when asked whether Rahul's visit to farmers was affecting Modi's popularity in the country.

Singh, who was here to distribute cheques of compensation among rain-hit farmers, said, "The BJP has given me respect and honour, now it's my duty to strengthen the party's base in Haryana and to take it to a new height."

Speaking over farmers' suicides, Singh said: "No doubt rain and hailstorm have caused a huge damage to the crops, but the
farmers in Haryana are 'Mard Ke Bachche' (brave sons) and cannot commit suicide due to crop loss."

"Besides crop loss, family reasons are also behind the rise in farmers' suicides. There were times when all three crops of the farmers were destroyed, but we never heard of suicides, however, the circumstances have changed now," he said.

He, however, skipped the question about Haryana agriculture minister OP Dhankar's "coward farmer" remarks, saying, "Our leaders are not that perfect in speaking Hindi, there might have been some problem in the interpretation of his statement."

Singh appealed to the farmers to find some alternative as only agriculture could not feed their coming generations.

Earlier, while distributing cheques Singh said the BJP governments at the Centre and state had taken several steps for the welfare of the farmers.

"You have faced crop damage in the past too, but had you ever seen quick response by any government in distributing the compensation," he said, adding, the compensation is also highest in the history of the state.

About the rise in petrol and diesel prices, Singh said the prices of fuel depended on the prices of crude oil in the international market and government had nothing to do with it.

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