Amid heightened debate over farm loans, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday accused the Congress of misleading farmers on loan waiver promises, saying its governments had handed out “lollipops” instead of what was promised.
“Will you trust the lollypop company? Be wary of the Congress and its lies,” the Prime Minister said at a public meeting in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghazipur after laying the foundation stone for a medical college and releasing a postal stamp on legendary king Suheldev.
On a day’s visit to the Purvanchal region, his second trip to the state this month, Mr. Modi claimed that the JD(S)-Congress coalition government which came to power in Karnataka recently waived loans of only 800 farmers.
“Lollipops were handed out. The loan waiver was given to only 800 farmers,” he claimed, adding that the “lollipop company” had similarly “forgotten” the promises it made before the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
Mr Modi claimed that under the Congress rule loans were given to people who were not eligible, while farmers were forced to go to private lenders and fall into debt traps.
Apparently countering Rahul Gandhi’s attacks over the Rafale jet deal that the “watchman” had himself turned into a “thief”, Mr Modi once again described himself again as a “chowkidar” of the people.
“This chowkidar of yours is toiling very hard day and night, and with honesty, to brighten your future and that of your children. Because of this chowkidar, some thieves are having sleepless nights. It is your faith and blessings on me that will take the thieves to their rightful place one day.”
There was trouble in Ghazipur soon after Mr Modi left the district as an angry mob stoned a police constable to death.
Constable Suresh Vats died after he was hit by a stone thrown by protesters demanding reservation for the Nishad community. Constable Vats and his colleagues were returning from the venue of Prime Minister’s rally when they tried to evict protesters blocking a road, triggering violence.
This is the second incident this month in which a policeman in Uttar Pradesh has been killed by a mob.Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh was shot dead by a mob in western Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr on December 3 after violence broke out over cow slaughter allegations.
Earlier, the Prime Minister showcased several agriculture-related projects for the region. These include the International Rice Research Institute in Varanasi, cargo centres in Varanasi and Ghazipur, a fertilizer plant in Gorakhpur and the Bansagar irrigation project.
Mr Modi slammed the Congress for not implementing the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission on minimum support price for crops. He said that his government has now fixed the minimum support price of 22 crops at one and a half times the cost of production.
Mentioning connectivity projects, Mr Modi said that work is in full swing for the Purvanchal Expressway.
The Congress rejected the charge of Mr Modi that the party had misled farmers on loan waivers. Addressing a press conference, Congress spokesman R.P.N. Singh said, “What was he (Modi) doing in 2008 when the Congress waived loans worth Rs 77,000 crore. We did not make any propaganda about it…We went and directly remitted the money into the accounts of farmers who had loans.”