“53 lakh is not a small number…Farmers can swing the poll, especially in rural areas. In Saurashtra region farmers feel only Rahul Gandhi raised their issues at the national level,” said a Gujarat Congress leader.
Announcing the loan waiver scheme (which did wonders for the UPA in Lok Sabha polls in 2009), Congress said that if the party is voted to power in the state it would waive farm loans of up to Rs 3 lakh and provide free electricity for 10 hours daily to farmers in the state.
Assembly elections are due by the year end in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.
Addressing the “resentment” among farmers against the BJP, which has been in power in the state since 2002, Gujarat Congress president Jagdish Thakor said that his party would bring a law to prohibit the purchase of farm produce below the minimum support price (MSP).
“Though the ruling BJP claims that Gujarat is a power surplus state, farmers are not getting adequate electricity for agriculture. If Congress comes to power, it will provide free electricity to farmers for 10 hours, that too during the day. We will also withdraw penalties and cases of electricity theft lodged against farmers,” added Thakor.
Both, BJP and AAP had made similar announcements for the electorates. But Congress’ announcement assumes significance given the fact that when the party was in power in Delhi, it had waived off a loan worth Rs 72,000 crores.
“Farmers in Gujarat are reeling under huge debt. But instead of providing a relief, the BJP had waived loans of industrialists. In the first cabinet meeting after coming to power, the Congress will make a decision to abolish all the farm loans below Rs 3 lakh,” the Congress leader said.
Notably, other senior Congress leaders, such as Arjun Modhwadia and Tushar Chaudhary, held simultaneous press conferences in Rajkot, Surat and Vadodara on Friday to announce these promises.