- BJP'S Chandrakant Patil has attacked the new government
- Capped farm loan waiver was unexpected of Uddhav Thackeray, he said
- Mr Patil's swipe at the Chief Minister also alludes to the Shiv Sena
Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil has attacked the new government led by Shiv Sena's Uddhav Thackeray for putting a limit of Rs 2 lakh on the loan waiver for farmers announced last week. Mr Patil said the capped farm loan waiver was unexpected of the Chief Minister, who promised he would waive full loans without limit.
"U-turn will now be known as Uddhav ji Thackeray-turn," Mr Patil said, news agency Press Trust of India reported.
"He announced loan waiver up to only Rs 2 lakh. We know that there are some limitations. But now he must have understood the difference between announcement and implementation," Mr Patil added.
Mr Patil's swipe at the Chief Minister also alludes to the Shiv Sena - Mr Thackeray's party fought the Maharashtra election in alliance with the BJP - declining to form government after a disagreement over a 50:50 power-sharing formula, which the BJP insisted the Sena had never discussed with it before the election.
The BJP's former cantankerous ally went on to forge an alliance with Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress, drawing criticism from the BJP for the about-turn.
Called 'Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Loan Waiver Scheme', the announcement came on the last day of the first assembly session held after the new Shiv Sena-Congress-NCP combine came to power.
"Crop loans outstanding till September 30, 2019, will be waived by my government. The upper ceiling for the amount is Rs 2 lakh," Mr Thackeray said, adding another scheme will help farmers who repay loans on time.
He said a small unit of the Chief Minister's Office will be set up in every district to hear complaints from people and spare them from travelling long distances to Mumbai for every small work.
Farm loan waiver was a big issue in the assembly election. Former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had teamed up with the NCP's Ajit Pawar, who tried to bring the number from the NCP's ranks despite a strict no from his uncle and NCP chief Sharad Pawar.
But before the gamble failed, the former chief minister and Ajit Pawar had said they had to rush in to form government in the interest of farmers in Maharashtra who suffered heavy losses due to unseasonal rain.
In a gesture to show seriousness about a farm loan waiver, both had even held a meeting to discuss farmers' issues before a trust vote could be held and while the Congress-Shiv Sena-NCP combine was shaping up.