Deoria (Uttar Pradesh), Sep 6 (IANS) Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said the Narendra Modi government was ignoring the plight of farmers.
Addressing a huge gathering at Rudrapur in Deoria district at the start of his 2,500-km Kisan Yatra, Gandhi said Modi was ready to waive off loans of rich corporates but wasn’t ready to do that in the case of farmers.
“Modiji is writing off loans of rich corporates. He should do the same for farmers in Uttar Pradesh and elsewhere in the country,” he said.
Gandhi suggested that the government could help the farmers in three ways. One, by writing off loans taken by them. Second, by slashing electricity bills to half and third by increasing the minimum support price (MSP) for their crops.
“In the UPA government, we waived off farmers’ loans worth Rs 70,00 crore. We also kept revising MSP, which this government is not doing,” he said.
“The elctricity bills for farmers should be slashed to half,” he added.
Gandhi wondered why there was a huge gap between the market price of pulses and the price at which farmers sell them.
“Farmers are selling pulses at Rs 40 per kilogram but its market price is around Rs 200. I ask Modiji, why is there such a huge difference?
“Where is the difference money going? It is being pocketed by middlemen.”
He said he had embarked on this Yatra to understand the problems of the farmers and to convey them to the government.
“Kisano ka dukh hamara dukh hai (We can feel farmers’ pain as our own).”
Gandhi rued that the region that was considered a sugar bowl of the country was lying in a state of neglect with most sugar mills shut down. He blamed both the state and central governments for the crisis.
“Now most mills have shut down. Who is responsible for this? The state and central governments are responsible for it.”
Earlier, Gandhi offered prayers at a Shiva temple – Baba Dugdheshwarnath – and then started his Yatra in a specially designed bus.
The Yatra will cover 55 of the 80 Lok Sabha constituencies covering 39 districts in Uttar Pradesh.