Prime Minister Narendra Modi today called the farm loan waiver by the Congress governments in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh "political stunts" and asserted that a majority of farmers do not benefit from these "misleading" announcements as they take loans from money lenders, not banks.
The PM, who had earlier described these farm loan waiver announcements as "lollipops", said in an interview to news agency ANI: "To lie and mislead, that is what I called lollipop. Like saying that we have waived all farm loans. The truth is that nothing like that has happened... They should not mislead... And particularly a responsible political party should never do it."
"These are political stunts", he said.
The only solution to farmers' problems is to empower them, the PM said, and added that his government is committed to it.
"The solution is to empower the farmers. From seed to market, give all facilities to the farmers," PM Modi said.
After farm loan waivers in three states, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi had told the media that they would "not let Prime Minister Narendra Modi sleep or rest" until an all-India loan waiver scheme was announced.
Sources have said PM Modi last month held discussions with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, BJP chief Amit Shah and Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, and the government is expected announce a new set of measures for farmers before the end of the winter session on January 5.
Among the ideas discussed in the meeting were extending schemes by two BJP governments to the national level. One of them is the scheme of the previous Shivraj Singh Chouhan government in Madhya Pradesh to pay the farmers the difference between Minimum Support Price and the market price.
The pro-farmers measures are crucial for the government especially after the BJP's loss in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh to the Congress was attributed to farmers' anger among other factors.
With inputs from ANI