Won’t allow PM Modi to sleep till farm loans written off: Rahul Gandhi after 2 Congress states waive loans
Back in Delhi after a whirlwind tour of three states to witness three Congress chief ministers take over, party chief Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday renewed his attack on the BJP-led national coalition over the plight of farmers and accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of worrying only about wealthy businessmen. Chief Ministers of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, two of the three states that the Congress wrested from the BJP in the just-concluded state elections, have ordered a farm waiver within hours of taking charge.
“Congress and all opposition parties will force Modi to give farm loan waiver to farmers… Will not allow Modi to sleep till he waives the loan,” Gandhi said on Parliament House premises on Tuesday.
A loan waiver has been high on the Congress’s to-do list in the recently-held assembly elections in five states. Meeting after meeting, Congress leaders had highlighted the farmers’ plight and promised them a new deal, starting with a waiver.
Gandhi told reporters that he had been highlighting the point that the main fight in India is between small traders, farmers and 15-20 wealthy businessmen, building on the narrative that had been at the centre of his election campaign in the five states.
“Modiji has made two Hindustans. One Hindustan consists of wealthy businessmen... and the other is made up of farmers, poor, youth, small traders,” he said.
“Two states announced farm loan waivers within six hours, the third will also do it soon,” the Congress president said, underlining how the Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh had gone for a loan waiver within six hours. The third, Rajasthan, would also follow suit.
“But for the four years that Modiji has been Prime Minister, he hasn’t forgiven loans of even Re 1,” he said.
Rahul Gandhi, who has been a sharp critic of PM Modi’s 2016 sudden decision to ban high-value currency notes, also linked his criticism over the notes ban decision to the poor.
The PM, he said, had a choice between a loan waiver and demonetization. But the Congress president alleged, PM Modi preferred demonetisation over a loan waiver because it benefited his wealthy friends.
During campaigning, Gandhi had described a promise to protect farmers reeling from low prices and a promise to provide jobs to the young as two pillars of the party’s strategy.
The Congress approach has capitalised on the perceived resentment around these two points and promised short-term measures such as loan waivers and longer term steps to encourage small and medium industries to create jobs.
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