Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said in Lok Sabha Wednesday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign, had only promised farmers 50 per cent of input cost as profit on farm produce. The Opposition, Singh said, was misleading people by adding “minimum support price”. Responding to a six-hour debate on the agrarian crisis, Singh said Modi had not mentioned “minimum support price” during his speech in Bareilly. He said the government had appointed a committee in 2015 and implemented its promise last year. The government, he maintained, was striving to pay double the cost of input for agricultural produce.
The Opposition asked the government to waive farm loans, hike MSPs and lodge criminal cases against those responsible for recent deaths of farmers in firing in MP. Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, who opened the discussion, said: “This government is not sensitive to the issues of farmers. Prime Minister Narendra Modi immediately tweets at global disasters but he has not tweeted anything on the killings of farmers in Mandsaur.” He said even the agriculture minister has not visited Mandsaur because he was “busy doing yoga with Ramdev Baba”.
Scindia attacked MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. As BJP members frequently interrupted him, Scindia described Chouhan’s fast following the firing as nautanki and added certain remarks that Speaker Sumitra Mahajan expunged later. He was also challenged by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar, who said, “He should not mislead the House.” Mahajan indicated a special session for a threadbare discussion on agrarian issues could be convened. The suggestion came from BJP member Virendra Singh Mast. The suggestion was “good”, Mahajan said. “One day, I would orgainse such a session,” she said, adding as representatives of people, “all of us know about issues related to farming”.
Mast, who heads the BJP farmers’ cell, took a dig at Scindia, saying it was not an issue of Rajas and Ranis. Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar accused the Congress of stoking the agitation in Mandsaur. Those who spoke included Kalyan Banerjee (Trinamool Congress), Bhartruhari Mahtab (BJD), Sudheer Gupta (BJP), Prem Singh Chandumajra (Akali Dal), Bhagwant Mann (AAP), Arun Kumar and Ram Kumar Sharma (both RLSP), Badruddin Ajmal (AIUDF), E T Mohammd Basheer (IUML), Dushyant Chautala (INLD), CN Jayadevan (CPI), Joice George (Independent), Rajesh Ranjan (RJD rebel).