Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, in the middle of addressing a rally in Madhya Pradesh on Wednesday, turned to Chief Minister Kamal Nath asking for a list he had shown him earlier on his mobile phone. The list, naming the beneficiaries of the state government's farm loan waivers, featured two names that apparently needed special mention.
These were the names of former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan's brother and uncle; Rohit Singh and Niranjan Singh. "Chief Minister Kamal Nath said that Mr Chouhan's brother and his uncle's son have also availed the loan waiver scheme," Mr Gandhi said.
The exercise appeared to be a rejoinder to the BJP leader who has accused the Congress government of lying about its flagship election promise.
Respoding to Rahul Gandhi's comments, Mr Chouhan said, "These are the fake lists, we will have to see, bhaiyya (brother). They are just giving bundles."
Loan waivers up to Rs 2 lakh have been availed by 21 lakh farmers in the state since last December, according to government records. Senior Congress leader Suresh Pachouri on Tuesday had dumped bundles of documents at outside Mr Chouhan's residence as "proof" of the loan waivers. The senior BJP leader dismissed this as a "bundle of lies", new agency PTI reported.
Mr Chouhan has been a fierce critic of the Congress government since it came to power last year, displacing the BJP government after 15 years. Farm loan waiver, Congress's big pre-poll promise that helped the party win election in the state, has been the focus of Mr Chouhan's attack on the state government. He has repeatedly accused the Congress of reneging on its election promise.
"Before the assembly polls last year, they promised to waive the farm loans in just 10 days after coming to power. The Congress has betrayed the poor farmers," he had said.
Mr Chouhan claimed that the Congress government was supposed to give Rs 48,000 crore to farmers, but instead only gave Rs 13,000 crore.
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