This Article is From Apr 05, 2019

In Race To The Finish, A Clash Of PM Modi's Kisan vs Rahul Gandhi's NYAY

Lok Sabha elections 2019: Because the BJP managed to implement PM's Kisan scheme before the election code came into force, it has got more word-of-mouth publicity in rural areas

Farmers in Uttar Pradesh who got Rs 2,000 under PM Kisan scheme say they will vote for BJP


In rural Uttar Pradesh, and elsewhere in the country, it's Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Kisan" (farmer) versus Congress chief Rahul Gandhi's "NYAY" (justice), with voters weighing in on the Congress's Rs 72,000 a year income top-up promise for India's poor against the BJP's already implemented scheme of sending Rs 2,000 to the bank accounts of small farmers in three instalments in a year.

In Uttar Pradesh, one of the largest beneficiaries of the PM's Kisan scheme, Indresh Kumari, a 30-year-old marginal farmer who lives on the outskirts of Lucknow, will get Rs 2,000 under the BJP scheme.

But Indresh is also a possible beneficiary of the Congress's NYAY scheme - the party says the money will go into the bank accounts of women in each family.

"I believe Modi more. I see him a lot on TV and it seems that whatever he is saying and doing are true. Rahul Gandhi and his promises... I don't know too much about them," quips Indresh when asked which scheme she likes better or which leader gives her more confidence.

One striking aspect on the ground is this - because the BJP managed to implement PM's Kisan scheme before the election code came into force, it has got more word-of-mouth publicity in rural areas. The Congress may have promised a larger sum to a wider section of people, but publicising NYAY on the ground remains a challenge.

The government says a crore out of 1.5 crore farmers in BJP-run Uttar Pradesh have got Rs 2,000 as part of the Modi government's scheme. But there's no confirmation any farmer in Madhya Pradesh has got the money. This is a big worry for the BJP's poll campaign in a state as crucial as Madhya Pradesh, which has 29 Lok Sabha seats.

A senior government officer told NDTV they don't have a database for small and marginal farmers, so fund transfer orders have only been uploaded for only 5,000 farmers till March 31 this year. The officer said he doesn't known whether the payments under the Kisan scheme have gone to farmers in Madhya Pradesh yet.

In contrast, Chief Minister Kamal Nath is leading the publicity campaign for the Congress's counter plan - the income guarantee campaign promise NYAY.

In Punjab, another Congress-ruled state, the first instalment under the PM Kisan scheme has been paid.

Farmer Karanpal Singh applied for the BJP scheme but is yet to receive the money, but says he will still vote for the BJP. "I will vote for Modi and am hopeful I will receive the money. (Chief Minister) Captain Amarinder Singh (of the Congress) promised debt-waiver but nothing has been done for farmers," Mr Singh said.