Govt thinks farmers are inferior to rich businessmen: Rahul Gandhi in Lok Sabha

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi speaks in the Lok Sabha during the Budget Session of Parliament, in New Delhi on July 11, 2019.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Outgoing Congress president Rahul Gandhi attacked the Modi government on issues related to farmers, stating that it had given them no relief unlike to businessmen who got loan write-off running into crores -- a statement strongly refuted by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh who squarely blamed previous Congress governments in not dealing with the issue.

Mr. Gandhi was speaking during zero hour in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, his first such intervention in the 17th Lok Sabha. In a speech that was focussed mainly on Kerala with a specific reference to his constituency Wayanad, where he said one farmer had ended his life because of his inability to pay off his debts.

“Farmers have been facing threats of immediate eviction from their properties,” he said, adding that this was so as banks from which they had taken loans have begun recovery process. “18 farmers in Kerala have committed suicide due to this,” he said. No relief has been given to farmers by the government, he said, claiming that businessmen have been granted concessions of ₹4.3 lakh crores and loan waivers of ₹5.5 lakh crore.

Union Minister Rajnath Singh strongly countered Mr. Gandhi's charge in Lok Sabha and blamed the long rule of the Congress for the plight of farmers and asserted that “no Prime Minister has done as much for peasants as has Narendra Modi.”

In his reply, Mr. Singh said the government's move to give ₹6000 as income support to farmers would lead to a rise in their income by 20-25% and claimed that more farmers committed suicide before the BJP-led dispensation came to power.

“It is not that the condition of farmers deteriorated in the last one, two or four years. Those who ruled the country for a long time are responsible for their state. The amount of increase in MSP (minimum support price) that our Prime Minister has effected has not been done by anybody in independent India's history,” Mr. Singh claimed.

As soon as Mr. Gandhi finished his speech, other Congress leaders wanted to raise the issue of desertions of MLAs from their party ranks in Karnataka and Goa, for which they have blamed the BJP.

With the Speaker not permitting them to speak on the matter, they staged a walkout and were joined by other Opposition parties like the TMC and BSP.

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Printable version | Oct 17, 2021 5:05:37 AM |

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