Seeking to woo farmers, Narendra Modi today promised that minimum support price will be fixed to ensure 50 per cent profit for agriculturalists and a major irrigation programme will be launched if NDA comes to power.
Addressing a rally in Punjab, which is a leading agrarian state, the BJP prime ministerial candidate said, "If NDA comes to power it will ensure remunerative prices to the farmers by adding 50 per cent profit into the peasants' input cost." "We will fix the MSP (Minimum Support Price) of crops incorporating 50 per cent profit in farmers cost of production including seed, irrigation, manure, labour " he said, adding that no one will be allowed to loot farmers.
Lamenting that farmers were facing hardships, he accused the Congress-led UPA government of making insufficient hike in the crop MSP during its tenure. "Today, the MSP is being hiked in the range Rs 200, Rs 250, Rs 300...your produce keeps rotting," he said. Modi said that on the lines of Prime Minister Gram Sadak Yojana during Atal Bihari Vajpayee's rule, if NDA comes to power again, they will start Pradhan Mantri Krishi Seechayee Yojana.
Just 35 per cent of the total agricultural land in India is irrigated while the rest is rain-fed. Modi said that former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri had given the slogan of 'Jai Jawan Jai Kisan', "which this government changed to 'Mar Jawan, Mar Kisan'". "You will be surprised to learn that the number of farmers who have been forced to commit suicide is more than the number of jawans who died fighting the wars," he said.
Reffering to the incidents on the border, he said, "Terrorists were killing our jawans, but government was acting as mute spectator". Asserting that the next government at the Centre will be formed by the BJP led NDA, he said it is clear that the places which have voted, they have already shown the exit door to the UPA.They have laid a strong foundation for the coming government and those who have to cast votes in the upcoming phases of the elections, have to do vote for strong government at the Centre.
Modi was addressing 'Bharat Vijay rally' in border area in Gurdaspur parliamentary constituency where actor-turned politician Vinod Khanna is contesting. Polling will take place here on April 30 along with 12 other constituencies of the state. Khanna is pitted against Punjab Congress President Pratap Singh Bajwa, the sitting MP from Gurdaspur. Modi heaped praise on Khanna, saying he was "more of your friend than an (ex) MP".
The Gujarat Chief Minister said that he had been impressed with Khanna when he had lent a helping hand to the Gujarat earthquake victims in 2001. "He spent a month in the state helping the victims. Despite being a star, he showed no tantrums," he said.
Seeking to strike an emotional chord with the people, he said he had worked in Punjab earlier and was well aware with the region, its people's and its problems. on.