WEEKS AFTER the Vasundhara Raje government in Rajasthan announced it would set up a committee to formulate modalities for waiving crop loan of farmers of up to Rs 50,000, the Congress is gearing up to launch a massive campaign to mount pressure on the BJP government for a complete waiver of farm loans.
Rajasthan state Congress president Sachin Pilot is set to start a Kisan Nyay Yatra in Chief Minister Raje and her son Dushyant Singh’s Assembly and parliamentary constituencies from October 3 to 6. Pilot will walk nearly 100 km in four days from Baran to Jhalawar. Leader of Opposition Rameshwar Dudi will accompany him, while other state leaders and AICC functionaries would join at various points.
With the All-India Kisan Sabha, which held protests in the Shekhawati area for several days, walking away with the credit for forcing the government to come to the negotiating table and announce its intention to waive off loans up to Rs 50,000, the Congress is not in a mood to waste time.
Pilot has chosen the Hadauti region, considered a stronghold of the BJP, to launch his mass contact programme. He told The Indian Express that around 75 farmers committed suicide last year and half of them were from the region. Assembly elections are due in Rajasthan next year. Baran and Jhalwar are part of the Hadauti region.
“We have four demands. The government should announce complete waiver of farm loans. The MSP should be fixed at levels 50 per cent more than the weighted average cost of production. The state government should give bonus for all agricultural produce. The previous Congress government used to give bonus. The MSP should be given for all crops. Now crops like jeera, dhania and isabgol are not given MSP,” Pilot said.
He said the governments of Karnataka, Punjab and UP that brought farm loan waivers did not set up committees. “What crime have the farmers of Rajathan committed?” he said.