SHIV SENA president Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday urged farmers in the arid region of Marathwada to end the party’s “political drought” in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, promising that he would then find a permanent resolution to the agricultural drought. Uddhav is on a tour of the drought-hit districts in Marathwada, where he is donating fodder for cattle and essential supplies to farmers. “If you want to end drought from your life permanently, then you need to end the political drought of the Shiv Sena. You end one drought and I will end the other drought,” said Uddhav, while addressing a rally in Beed.
He attacked the Modi government at the Centre on the slow response to the drought-hit farmers’ problems. “The PM is making a speech in Solapur. A central team came to survey the drought-hit areas around two months ago. But did you get any assistance?” asked Uddhav, adding that this would not be his last visit to the area.
Uddhav alleged that the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana has more irregularities than the Rafale deal. He asked how many people have received benefits of the government’s crop insurance scheme after paying installments to insurance firms. “People have got cheques of Rs 2, Rs 5, Rs 50, Rs 100. I don’t do ‘Mann ki Baat’ (referring to Modi’s monthly radio programme) but believe in speaking ‘jann ki baat’. Allegations are being made that there is a scam of thousands of crores in the crop insurance scheme,” he said.
“Who should we question? There is someone called Sainath, who is an expert on the subject, who has written a book. He has said the crop insurance scam is as big a scam as Rafale,” Thackeray added.
“We have given you support for four years. Neither the farmers’ issue nor the Ram temple issue has been resolved. If the court is going to take a decision on the Ram temple, then why was it mentioned in your manifesto?” he asked. “I am warning the government to stop the rain of announcements and implement the previous announcements properly.”
On the alliance with the BJP, Uddhav said, “The discussion on the alliance is happening through media, and not with us. I reiterate that we can forget talks on an alliance but they should tell me what they are doing for farmers.”
The Sena president also attacked the PM on his foreign visits. “The PM says ‘desh badal raha hai’ because he is visiting a new country every day. But the condition and the pain of the people is not changing.”
Beed, which was earlier a stronghold of the NCP, is now dominated by the BJP while Sena has no presence in the district.