Several farmer leaders including former MP and Swabhimani Paksha leader Raju Shetti on Saturday slammed political parties for evoking farmers’ issues to justify “horse-trading” for government formation in the state.
“To justify their lust for power, politicians of all hues and political parties talk about farmers,” Shetti said. Targeting Ajit Pawar, who took oath as Deputy Chief Minister, Shetti said, “(During his poll campaign, Ajit) Pawar had promised to waive off farm loans within a month (of coming to power), we are keeping a close watch on the developments,” he said.
The spotlight was back on farmers Saturday as Ajit, soon after taking the oath, told mediapersons that he chose to go with the BJP for government formation in the state so that the problems faced by the farmers are resolved at the earliest. BJP state chief Chandrakant Patil also claimed that the newly formed government would work for the benefit of the farmers in the state.
During the election campaign, Ajit, who is the nephew of NCP president Sharad Pawar, had repeatedly targeted the BJP-led government for its “anti-farmer policies” and had promised to waive off all farm loans within a month of coming to power in the state. Ajit had polled 1,95,641 votes in the October 21 Assembly elections and went on to win from Baramati seat by a huge margin of 1,65,265 votes.
Prahlad Ingole, a farmers’ leader from Nanded district, said farmers hold the key to the seats of power in the state. “Without invoking farmers or promising their betterment, no party can hope to win in the state. Thus, leaders just pay lip-service to win votes, but conveniently forget the agrarian distress when they come to power,” Ingole, who is also associated with the Shiv Sena, said.
Calling the sympathy for farmers by the leaders a “smokescreen to bag plump ministries” associated with the farm sector, Shetkari Sanghtana president Anil Ghanwat said, “It is all about the money associated with such ministries. Leaders talk about their sympathy towards farmers as once they come to power they can use it to ensure their coffers are filled.” Ghanwat said it was “shameful” that leaders are evoking farmers for power. “It should be stopped. But most importantly, farmers should understand this when they vote,” he said.