New Delhi, Jul 11: The ruling BJP and principal opposition Congress on Thursday clashed fiercely in the Lok Sabha over the plight of farmers with Congress president Rahul Gandhi leading the attack while Defence Minister and deputy leader of the House Rajnath Singh made a strong defence of the government.
"What is being faced by farmers has not happened in last two or four years....Those who have ruled this country for long time, they are responsible for the continued poor conditions and the plight of the farmers," Mr Singh said making a brief intervention after Congress president Mr Gandhi slammed the government for 'not taking concrete steps' in the Union Budget to provide relief to the farmers.
Rajnath Singh's remarks were received by slogan shouting from both sides and thumping of desks among the treasury bench. "From the time the Modi government has come to power, steps are being taken to help farmers raise their income and make it double," he said adding, "I can add with all responsibility that no government has increased the MSP for farmers as this government has done under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi".
He said under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Yozana all farmers irrespective of how much land they acquire, are being given Rs 6,000 assistance. Mr Singh, who held the charge of Agriculture ministry under Vajpayee government, said an internal report has indicated that this has led to a 20-25 per cent increase in the income of the farmers. In fact, farmers' suicides have reduced during the Modi government, claimed Mr Rajnath, who held the portfolio of Home from 2014 till May this year.
Speaking during Zero Hour, Mr Gandhi said farmers are suffering throughout the country and farmers' suicides are on the rise. 'Yesterday, a farmer in Wayanad committed suicide due to debt. In Wayanad, bank notices for no- payment of loans were given to 8,000 farmers, ' said Mr Gandhi adding no concrete steps were taken in the Union Budget to provide relief to the farmers. UNI