Hitting back at Rahul Gandhi, BJP chief Amit Shah on Sunday demanded that the Congress president should prove his charge that the Narendra Modi-led government waived off loans taken by industrialists. Addressing a rally at Humnabad in Karnataka, Shah accused Rahul Gandhi of lying and demanded that the Congress president make public any document which mentions that loans to industries were written off.
“I want to clarify one thing… one statement that the Congress president repeatedly makes is that the BJP waived thousands of crores, lakhs of crores of loans taken by industries. I can tell you with guarantee that after the Narendra Modi government came to power, not even a single paisa of loan taken by any single industrialist has been waived,” he said during an interaction with sugarcane farmers. “If he (Rahul Gandhi) has any records anywhere that industries’ loans have been waived, let him make it public… I am ready to answer and seek an apology from farmers of Karnataka. What he is saying is wrong,” the BJP national president said. He said that tax had not been waived for industries, but it has “only been reduced a bit.”
Amit Shah reached Karnataka on Saturday on a three-day visit in the poll-bound state. Earlier in the day, he visited families of farmers who had committed suicide in Bidar and expressed his condolences to the bereaved families. The BJP chief said the Centre’s “full focus” was on farmers’ welfare and after coming to power in Karnataka, his party would follow a pro-farmer strategy.
“There is already no income tax on anything related to farmers and there is no question of taxing them. Let anyone spread misinformation how much ever they want, the government is not imposing any income tax on farmers,” he said. Amit Shah also mentioned various initiatives taken by the Modi government for sugarcane farmers. BJP’s poll manifesto would include ensuring on-time payment to sugarcane growers, said Shah.
“If the BJP comes to power in Karnataka… within 90 days sugar mills would have to make payment to the farmers, as done in Uttar Pradesh. We will include this in our manifesto,” he said, adding that after forming the government in the state, sugar mills in the region would be re-opened.
Listing out various ‘pro-farmer’ initiatives of the Union government, such as procurement of pulses, neem-coated urea and the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana, he accused the Congress government in Karnataka of not allowing benefits of some of the schemes reach the farmers. The Congress government in the state fears that it may lead to further rise in Modi’s popularity, Shah claimed.
He said Narendra Modi would attend a farmers’ conclave at Davangere on February 27, after which BJP workers would visit their homes, collect a fistful of rice from each household, cook and eat it while pledging that once the party forms government in the state, it would be dedicated to work for farmers’ welfare. “We have come before you with an intention to form a pro-farmer government under the leadership of Yeddyurappa in Karnataka also,” Shah said, adding the BJP won the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and several state elections after that only because of support from farmers.
The BJP national president visited the historic Gurdwara Nanak Jhira Sahib in Bidar. He also visited the home of Shivaraj Basalingappa Already, a farmer who committed suicide, at Mangalgi village in Bidar. “During Siddaramaiah’s tenure, about 3,781 farmers across Karnataka committed suicide, but he is busy in the politics of appeasement. I have not seen a government as irresponsible and insensitive as this,” Shah tweeted.
– PTI inputs