Ever since Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda took over the state,it has been his endeavour to present himself a farmer-friendly leader of the Congress. But nobody could have imagined how he would go out of the way to please farmers,by doling out incentives worth Rs 4,231 crore,to woo them at the time of the elections.
In the last four years that the Hooda Government has been in office,the farmers of Haryana have benefited variously by way of waivers of loans,dues and interest and rebate on loans,running into a whopping Rs 4,231 crore.
The difference between Hooda and Chautala is that while the former chief minister crossed the borders of the state to strengthen his farmer-friendly image,Hooda focused on farmers within the state. Chautala contested elections in Rajasthan and UP too,but were not successful.
Hoodas largesse started with waiving off arrears worth Rs 1,600 crore on account of electricity bills,in 2005. The annoyance of farmers with the Chautala government on this account had been one of the factors that led to his fall in the last Assembly elections.
On the eve of the elections,Hooda made another attempt to establish a bond of trust with the peasantry,by scrapping what he called as the black law. Under this law,farmers had been arrested for inability to repay their cooperative loans. This decision was evidently taken with an eye on the Lok Sabha polls.
The unprecedented financial relief given to farmers flowed from a slew of farmer-friendly schemes launched by the Centre and the state. The Cooperative Agriculture and Rural Development Banks,Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies and the Housing Co-operative Federation also took up the cause of the debt-frozen farmers of the state,at the behest of the Hooda government.
Last year,under the Agriculture Debt Relief Scheme announced by the Union Finance Minister in his Budget speech for 2008-2009,about 7.12 lakh farmers of Haryana were benefited to the extent of Rs 2,129 crore. The beneficiaries include marginal and small farmers of primary agricultural co-operative societies.
The Cooperative Agriculture and Rural Development Banks too waived off loans amounting to Rs 283.48 crore of their members.