Faced with discontent among farmers on several issues, the BJP on Thursday asked its farmers’ wing to train five lakh volunteers to “convince” farmers about initiatives taken by the Narendra Modi government in the agriculture sector, sources said. The volunteers will also be trained to help farmers in distress avail benefits of welfare schemes initiated by the Centre, the sources added.
“The volunteers will be trained to communicate effectively to the farmers about the government schemes for the sector. They should be helping those farmers who face troubles to avail benefits of the schemes,” said a source.
However, the meeting convened by the party leadership to which agriculture ministers and representatives of all BJP-ruled states had been invited, was attended by ministers from only three states — Haryana, Jharkhand and Bihar (BJP holds agriculture portfolio in the JD(U)-BJP coalition government). UP Agriculture Minister Surya Pratap Sahi could not attend the meeting as the executive meeting of state BJP is underway in Kanpur, while his MP counterpart Gourishankar Bisen missed the meeting due to ill-health, sources said.
The meeting was attended by Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, Minister of State for Agriculture Krishna Raj, BJP general secretary P Muralidhar Rao, Kisan Morcha vice-president Shailendra Sengar, among others.
Sources in BJP said the discontent among the farmers is a “disturbing” factor for the party which is gearing up for polls in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat this year and in Karnataka early next year.
BJP said the meeting was part of the second phase of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Prashikshan Mahabhiyan, aimed at chalking out the outline of training for farmers across India.
Addressing the meeting, Radha Mohan Singh said, “Our focus is to ensure that more and more farmers get the benefit of the schemes and policies of the Union and state governments. There is excellent work being done by the government of India, but many a times the farmers are not able to avail the benefits of the policies and schemes. Therefore, it’s also the duty of the field-level workers to ensure that these benefits reach the farming families.”
Rao said the training for the volunteers was aimed at preparing farmers for the government’s plans to double their income. “Such initiatives will not be successful unless mobilisation takes place at the ground level. We would need a comprehensive and cohesive set of people to make that happen,” Rao told The Indian Express. At the meeting, Rao said the training would be held at four levels — national, state, district and assembly.