‘Could give Rs 1 lakh crore farm loan waiver, but…’: PM Modi hits out at Congress

Speaking at a public rally in Jharkhand, PM Narendra Modi said loan waiver to farmers would have been an easier choice for the government if it only wanted their votes.

INDIA Updated: Jan 05, 2019 16:51 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustant Times, Palamu, Jharkhand
Narendra Modi,Modi in Jharkhand,Jharkhand
Ramnagar: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses during the Vijay Sankalp Samaroh at Ramnagar, in Silchar, Friday, Jan 4, 2019. (PTI Photo) (PTI1_4_2019_000203A)(PTI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a scathing attack on the Congress over its loan waiver promises in the recent state elections, accusing the party of misleading farmers.

“Farmers are a vote bank for the Congress but for us, farmers are our food providers. This is the difference between the Congress and the BJP,” the prime minister said.

Modi said that after being voted to power in 2014, the government has focused on reviving irrigation projects. “We launched the Prime Minister Irrigation Scheme. We revived 99 irrigation projects that were pending for 30-40 years…We are spending about Rs 90,000 crore on these projects.”

Also watch: PM Modi says Congress’ farm loan waiver not effective, farmers must be empowered

“Had I only wanted the votes of farmers, I could have also doled out Rs 1 lakh crore as loan waiver. It would have been easier. But we did not go for that…We are trying to change the old system,” he said.

PM Modi did not explicitly refer to the Congress’s loan waiver promises in the recent assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. But the criticism of the Congress’s loan waiver promises, in these three states and elsewhere, has been a running theme in the prime minister’s speeches over the last few weeks.

The Congress, which snatched the three Hindi heartland states from the BJP in the state elections, says it has started delivering on its promise for a waiver of farm loans up to Rs 2 lakh. PM Modi has, in his recent speeches, made pointed references to the Congress’s track record on farm waivers and asserted that it wasn’t the farmers really, who benefited.

Speaking in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghazipur on December 29, PM Modi said, “They promised ‘loan lollipop’ to lakhs of farmers but waived off loans of merely a handful of them…Under the new (Congress) governments in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, we can already see long queues of farmers seeking fertilizers and urea. They were also lathicharged. Those who do black marketing have come into play.”

Referring to Karnataka, PM Modi said, “While they managed to form the government through backdoor, they actually waived off loans of merely 800 farmers.”

In Jharkhand’s Palamu where PM Modi laid foundation stones for some projects, PM Modi pointed how no government in the past had bothered to start construction of the Uttar Koel dam that he said, could change the lives of the farmers in the region.

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