As the Bharatiya Janata Party woos voters in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh and Punjab making a slew of promises in its election manifesto — including farm loan waivers— the move has not gone down well with Congress leaders in Maharashtra. Maharashtra Congress’s general secretary Sachin Sawant on Saturday lashed out at the BJP-led government in the state over its “failure” in addressing grievances of Maharashtra farmers despite rise in suicides.
In a letter to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Sawant stated that he was ‘shocked’ to see how the BJP’s manifesto released by party chief Amit Shah promised a loan waiver for farmers, while the same issue has been ‘evaded by the Maharashtra government time and again’. The state Congress has been demanding loan waivers for farmers in Maharashtra but the state government refused to the demand, the party claimed.
Coming down heavily on BJP-led state government, Sawant said, “Before becoming the chief Minister, Devendra Fadnavis, as the party’s state unit chief had promised vision 20-20 for the state wherein he had assured that there will be no more farmer suicides in the state. And two years after the BJP came to power ,the conditions of farmers have worsened.”
Sawant in his letter to the CM alleged that after the BJP came to power, the number of farmers committing suicide had increased. “Those districts which were declared as zero suicide districts, reported more suicides,” added Sawant. According to Sawant, in Osmanabad, around 136 suicides were reported between August 2014 to August 2015. However after it was declared as a zero suicide region, Osmanabad recorded 172 suicides between August 2015 to August 2016. Sawant said: “Exploitation of farmers by landlords has increased too.”
Congress leaders who have been advocating loan waiver for farmers say that there is no other option to save farmers and stop them from committing suicide.
Criticising BJP’s move to offer loan waiver in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh and Punjab and neglecting Maharashtra, Sawant said: “Maharashtra tops the list of states suffering from farmers suicide. The number of suicides in Maharashtra is higher than in UP and Punjab. BJP’s election manifesto is not just unjust to the farmers of Maharashtra but it seems to be an eyewash to woo the people of UP and Punjab.”