New Delhi, Dec 6 : The Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday extended an invitation to representatives of farmers to come for "dialogue" on "genuine demands".
“We had invited farmers' leaders for dialogue when they came to New Delhi to agitate last week and I am again extending an invitation to them for a dialogue on their realistic demands,’’ said BJP’s Kisan Morcha Chairman and MP Virendra Singh `Mast’ addressing a press conference here. “I am giving an assurance that I will take up their realistic demands with the government,’’ he said even as he ruled out loan waiver as “not a permanent solution’’.
Lambasting opposition leaders for jumping on the farmers’ bandwagon, he said, “Opposition leaders are taking advantage of farmers only to save themselves and remain in existence. Their only agenda is to oust Modi government and come to power.’’ He said farmers’ indebtedness is an age-old issue and blamed the United Progressive Alliance government for it.
“Rahul Gandhi does not understand `K’ of krishi and is in fact part of the problem as the loans incurred by farmers are during governments lead by the Congress,’’ he said. Singh said even though he had invited farmers’ leaders for `dialogue’ they “just gathered at Ramlila Ground, politicised the issue, and left.’’
Stating that he himself was a farmer, he said that no other government than the Modi government had implemented the MS Swaminathan Committee report raising minimum support price (MSP).
On being asked why the government did not include the cost of the land in computing the MSP, he said it was a complex issue as the land price varied from state to state. “We want that the issue be discussed and we arrive to a solution,’’ he said. According to him the central government was keen to double farmers’ income so that he/she does not have to incur loan and were in a position to pay them off.
“We want that farmers are able to give back their loans rather than seek loan waiver,'’ he said. According to him, several state governments including Uttar Pradesh and Punjab had waived farmers’ loans but it did not help matters. “Agriculture is a state subject and state governments will have to be involved,’’ he said.
Mr Singh said that the Modi government has dedicated 52 per cent of its budget for agriculture and rural development.
Asked if the Ministry of Agriculture had taken any initiative to talk to farmers’ leaders, he said he was not aware if that had been done but “for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah farmers are a priority.’’ (UNI)