The Congress on Monday said that it would organise a farmer’s rally in Gandhinagar on Tuesday, the first day of the two-day Monsoon Session of the Assembly, to demand waiving off agricultural loans for farmers.
Titled Khedut Akrosh Rally, it will be held at Satyagraha Chhavani in Sector 6 and farmers from across the state will take part in it. The rally will be followed by ‘gherao’ (to lay siege) of the Vidhan Sabha complex by agriculturists. The two programmes are being organised on the first day the Assembly session because the short session will give the opposition party little time to raise the issues of farmers in the House, Congress leaders Amit Chavda and Paresh Dhanani said at a joint press conference here.
Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Dhanani said that they were forced to organise the rally to draw attention of the people over the “total failure of the BJP government in the state towards accepting the farmers’ demand of loan waiver, giving them reasonable Minimum Support Price (MSP), improved supply of water and electricity, solving issues related to crop insurance, scrapping of recently-conducted land survey based on satellite images, which has many discrepancies”.
State Congress president Chavda said: “The farmers have landed in economic crisis due to anti-farmer policies and anti-people policies of the state government. Minimum Support Price (MSP) for farm produce is quite inadequate keeping in view the costly seeds, fertilisers, costly electricity and sharp increase in cost of other inputs.”
Stating that the UPA government with Manmohan Singh as the Prime Minister had taken a historic decision to write off Rs 71,000 crores of agriculture loans, Dhanani said that the governments in Punjab and Karnataka headed by the Congress, subsequently, waived off farm loans in their respective state. “The government of Gujarat must similarly do justice to farmers by writing off their farm loans,” he added.
Accusing the BJP government of ignoring farmers and working only for industrialists, Dhanani said: “Farmers in the state, especially marginal farmers, are financially strained due to anti-farmer policies of the BJP government, which has ruled the state for 22 years but only worked to appease industrialists.”
“The government has betrayed farmers by going back on the promises made to them before the elections. Crop insurance schemes and satellite land surveys have only benefited private parties. Farmers are under loan burden while the government has failed to give them relief in terms of higher MSPs, cheaper and good quality fertilisers and seeds, better supply of electricity and water, among other measures,” he said.
Chavda said agriculturists have approached the government repeatedly with their set of demands, but the BJP administration has turned a deaf ear to their pleas for relief. “The rally and Assembly gherao programme organised by the Congress is a way to vent their anger and frustration towards the BJP government,” the state Congress president said.
Chavda said the two-day Assembly session called on September 18-19 is insufficient for the opposition party to raise the issues affecting the public, including farmers. “The government has deliberately kept the Assembly session short so that it does not have to face inconvenient questions (from Opposition). The rally and gherao are ways to raise farmer issues before the government. We will continue to fight for farmers until our demands are met,” he added.