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Cong woos farmers with farm loan waiver promise

Party state prez says agricultural output dipped despite BJP's lofty claims

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Cong woos farmers with farm loan waiver promise
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Accusing the BJP government of failing to provide the right prices to farmers for their produce, the Congress on Tuesday announced that it would waive off loans for the farmers if the party is elected to power in the upcoming assembly elections.

Addressing the media, Gujarat Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki said the farming activity has taken a huge hit in the state in the last 10 years.

"The number of farmers in the state has fallen by 3.55 lakh over the last 10 years. Over the same period, number of farm labourers has gone up by 17 lakh. The BJP government has been making tall claims, but the reality is that agricultural output has been on the decline. This is the reason why instead of exporting, we are forced to import certain food items," Solanki said.

He said that ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP had promised that farmers would be paid 50% more than their input costs, but nothing in reality happened. He said that fertilizer, diesel, and other inputs have become costlier, but the minimum support price being paid to farmers is insufficient to even cover costs.

Solanki also criticised deputy chief minister Nitin Patel for his statement a few months ago that farmers in the state are well off and do not need a loan waiver.

"The truth is that farmers are in a bad state, and it is our promise that we will waive off farmers' loans when we come to power," he announced. Effective implementation of minimum support price policy, free canal water for irrigation, 16-hour electricity supply to farmers, and construction of Narmada canal network on top priority, were the other announcements by the Congress, which has been out of power in the state since 1995.

Alleging several irregularities in land resurvey undertaken by the state government, former Gujarat Congress president Arjun Modhwadia said a fresh survey would be conducted so that farmers do not end up as losers.

Former MLA Siddharth Patel alleged that more than 7,000 farmers in the state have committed suicide in the last 10 years.

OPPOSITION ATTACKS

  • Gujarat Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki says number of farmers in the state has fallen by 3.55 lakh over the last 10 years.
     
  • Ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP had promised that farmers would be paid 50% more than their input costs, but nothing in reality happened, he alleged.
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