Hailing the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra government for announcing loan waiver of up to Rs two lakh for farmers, the Shiv Sena today hit out at the BJP for seeking to write off debts fully and asked why it did not address the issue when it was in power.
In a veiled attack on the BJP-led central government, the Shiv Sena, in its party mouthpiece "Saamana", noted that the government took the decision of farm loan waiver at a time when the country is "burning" over the issue of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
Without naming the BJP, it said one can provoke people by playing politics of sentiments, but he/she needs courage to take a decision in the interest of farmers.
The Maharashtra government on Saturday announced a loan waiver of up to Rs two lakh for farmers, with a cut off date of September 30, 2019.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray made the announcement in the Legislative Assembly on the last day of the state legislature's winter session in Nagpur.
The BJP staged a walkout seeking full loan waiver.
"The chief minister announced the decision at a time when the country is burning over the issue of the citizenship law. One can provoke people playing politics of sentiments, but needs spunk to take a decision in the interest of farmers," the Shiv Sena said.
This is the first step of the new government towards writing off farmers' debts completely, the Marathi daily said.
It said the demand for full farm loan waiver was made by Sena president Uddhav Thackeray during the tenure of the previous Devendra Fadnavis-led government.
The Devendra Fadnavis government could have also given full loan waiver, but it did not do so then and is now seeking writing off debts completely when the BJP is in opposition, the Shiv Sena wrote in the editorial.
"You are not appreciating the government's decision to write off farmers' loans of upto Rs two lakh, but questioning whether full loan waiver has been extended. You were in power in Maharashtra for five years. Why did not you give it then? You should tell this first," it said.
It is a question whether the Centre will fulfill the expectation of giving financial aid to Maharashtra, the economy of which is in a "precarious state", the Sena added, and asked Mr Fadnavis to discuss the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Referring to the BJP rally in Nagpur on Sunday in support of the amended citizenship law and Union minister Nitin Gadkari's remarks asking if it was a crime to be a Hindu in this country, the Shiv Sena said majority of farmers in Maharashtra are also Hindus and facing the problem of making ends meet.
"But, we (Shiv Sena) think about it (farmers' woes). The issues of loan waiver for farmers and providing meal at Rs 10 are crucial for the poor. But the BJP missed those issues," the Marathi publication alleged.
"The BJP doesn't have to sulk if farmers feel joyous (after announcement of loan waiver). Be a part of farmers' joy," it said.