- Rajnath Singh asked "have you all received Rs 2000 or not"
- Question was met with an eerie silence at a rally in Bihar
- He was campaigning for Santosh Kushwaha, lawmaker of ally JDU
Amid the debate over the Congress's Rs 6000 a month Basic Minimum Income Scheme and the government's Rs 6000 a year PM Kisan Scheme, Union minister Rajnath Singh had a reality check at a remote village in Bihar today. It was one that also left the government of Nitish Kumar red faced before the Union Minister. The ambitious scheme was launched in February, its proximity to the elections had set off opposition allegations of "votes for notes". In its manifesto released yesterday, the BJP promised that the scheme, meant for small farmers, will be extended to all farmers.
While campaigning for Santosh Kushwaha - the sitting lawmaker of ally Janata Dal United from Purnea - Mr Singh was discussing the various welfare schemes of the government.
After the flagship healthcare scheme Ayushman Bharat got a lot of applause, the minister moved onto the ambitious PM Kisan Scheme, under which farmers having less that 2 hectare land would get three instalments of Rs 2000 each in their bank accounts.
The first tranche of Rs 2000 was released in February, soon after the scheme was announced. But it turned out - not in Dhamdaha block of Purnea constituency.
The minister's question of "have you all received Rs 2000 or not" met with an eerie silence. Perplexed, he repeated the question.
As several people shouted "No", he was taken aback. Then he suggested that those who received the money raise their hand. But there was no show of hands. By now the buzz of was growing among the audience as people consulted each other. "No, no we haven't received it", "No one here got any' could be heard from all sides.
The minister then turned back to consult the local leaders. "Why, these people haven't received it?" his dismayed voice could be heard on the public address system. It turned out that the local administration has not done the necessary paperwork.
The minister then proceeded to assure the farmers that the funds would definitely come.
The Congress had topped the PM Kisan Scheme with Nyay - a promise for a flagship Basic Minimum Income Scheme under which the poorest of the poor families will receive Rs 72,000 a year. The party claims it has generated a lot of excitement among the people.