Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Thursday took up the issue of agrarian crisis during the Zero Hour in Parliament and criticised the Narendra Modi-led government over the “suffering” of farmers.
This was the first time that Gandhi raised an issue in the 17th Lok Sabha. In his brief speech, Gandhi accused the government of giving them no relief and wondered if it considered them “inferior” to businessmen who have been given concessions and loan waivers running into lakhs of crores.
Countering Gandhi’s charges, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh blamed the long rule of the Congress for the plight of the farmers and asserted that no prime minister has done as much for peasants as has Modi.
Singh claimed that due to the efforts of the Modi government there has been an increase in farmers’ income by 20-25 per cent. “The farmers’ crisis did not start in the past few years. It was there since their (Congress) rule. But since the Modi government came to power, we have worked towards doubling farmers’ income. Kisan Man Dhan Yojana has benefited the farmers and led to a 20-25 percent increase in their earnings,” he said.
Gandhi specifically spoke about the problems facing farmers in his constituency in Wayanad and urged PM Modi to help improve the conditions of the farmers. “There is a terrible situation of farmers in the country. I urge the prime minister to ameliorate problems of farmers in the country,” he said.
Highlighting the plight of Wayanad farmers, Gandhi said farmers have been facing threats of immediate eviction from their properties as banks from which they had taken loans have begun recover process. He said a total of 18 farmers have committed suicide due to this.
“Modi had made a lot of promises to farmers and the government should fulfil them,” Gandhi concluded.