BJP State president B.S. Yeddyurappa burnishing his farmer-friendly image in the run-up to the Assembly elections, has written an open letter to the State’s farmers, promising them “good days ahead once he returns to power” and called on them to take an oath to never think of taking their own lives.
Coming down heavily on the incumbent Congress government for the “pathetic farming conditions”, he alleged the situation was caused by inadequate irrigation facilities, insufficient power supply, and firms selling substandard fertilizer and seeds.
“I regret that I was not able to implement all my dream farm reforms during my last tenure,” he said, expressing concern over 3,515 farmer suicides in the last five years in Karnataka.
The BJP will go on a 15-day-long Musthi Dhanya Abhiyana from March 21 to April 6, taking a fistful of grains from farmer households in villages across the State. In return, they will be given the same letter from Mr. Yeddyurappa, said Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javdekar, election in charge of Karnataka. The campaign will include gram sabhas where BJP workers will talk of farm distress in the State and the solutions the BJP offers, he said. He said the campaign would conclude with a public feast in the villages on April 8, 9 or 10, when the grains would be used for cooking.
To a question that Karnataka has seen no farmer protests unlike in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, both BJP-governed States, the Minister said the farmers were not protesting here since they knew the government was “anti-farmer and apathetic”.
“The Union Budget has approved the implementation of M.S. Swaminathan Committee Report that sets the minimum support price at cost + 50%. The MSP this kharif season will be visibly high,” he said.
When asked about the allegations by the State Agriculture Minister that the Union government was not increasing the purchase of toor, he said the State government had equal responsibility and should buy the crop themselves.