On Tuesday evening, at the first cabinet meeting called by UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath 15 days after he took oath, the UP government announced that loans of less than one lakh taken by small and marginal farmers, amounting to over 30,000 crores, would be waived. It also wrote off almost 6,000 crore in bad loans and said these measures would benefit 92.5 per cent of UP's farmers, who owe banks a total Rs 62,000 crore.
Yogi Aditynath broke with the tradition of calling a cabinet meeting immediately after he was sworn in. By delaying the meet he was able to keep an election promise made by the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had said a farm loan waiver would be announced in the first cabinet meeting if the BJP came to power in UP.
The Samajwadi Party's Akhilesh Yadav, Rahul Gandhi's partner for the UP elections, was more critical, calling the waiver announced yesterday a "betrayal" of farmers. "Promise was to waive the entire loan... farmers are feeling cheated as the government fixed a limit of Rs one lakh. The poor farmers have been betrayed," Akhilesh Yadav tweeted on Tuesday.
The Central Govt must have a national response to the widespread distress & not discriminate amongst states(3/3)Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) April 5, 2017
Mr Yadav, who was seeking a second term as chief minister, and Mr Gandhi joined hands for the Uttar Pradesh elections this year but failed to stall a BJP wave in the state. The BJP has won 312 of UP's 403 seats, 325 along with its allies. The Samajwadi Party-Congress team could win only 54. While Akhilesh Yadav's party won 47, the Congress was reduced to a humiliating seven seats.