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Farm Loan Waiver Turning Political Agenda In Odisha

18 December 2018

Ajesh Mallick

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Bhubaneswar: In the wake of Congress making farm loan waiver a main poll plank and has been able to topple the BJP-ruled governments of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan in the recently concluded assembly elections, the issue has now turned into a political agenda in Odisha as the general elections (both Lok Sabha and Assembly) are slated in 2019.

Convening a press meet today, former Union Minister and Congress leader Srikanta Jena said, “Thanking the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and Rajasthan Chief Minister, also congratulating them. I, especially, thank Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh for the announcement made for the farmers within two hours of the swearing-in ceremony. They have announced loan waiver and minimum support price (MSP). In Chhattisgarh, they have fixed MSP at Rs 2,500. It’s a historic step.”

He commented, “Till now, neither farm loan has been waived off nor has the proposed incentive been paid to the farmers by the State Government here. Maximum it would be Rs 10,000-15,000. What’s the problem? Why is the State Government hesitating to pay Rs 1000 incentive per quintal to each farmer?”

Odisha unit BJP president Basant Panda today announced, “If BJP is blessed by the people of Odisha and forms government in 2019, farm loan will definitely be waived. Our party has already taken the decision.”

“Also decision has been taken that interest-free farm loan will be lent to the farmers,” he further promised.

On the contrary, ruling BJD spokesperson Pratap Deb remarked, “BJD doesn’t require the advice of BJP on the steps we would be taking. First of all, BJP has to reply to the whole nation as well as the people of Odisha on the promise made in their 2014 election manifesto that they would fully implement the Swaminathan Committee report, pay attention to the farmers and improve their status. What has the BJP done?” He lambasted, “The results of the three States have made it clear that the people there didn’t cast votes in BJP’s favour as it failed keep its promise.”

He also stated, “BJP says that they will stage protest and raise voice. Before that it should clear the air on their Union Finance Minister’s statement. The Finance Minister has stressed that there will be no farm loan waiver. Hence, what is the mystery behind Odisha unit BJP’s such an announcement. They have often cheated the people for which people are no more in a mood to trust them.”

Also Read: Will Loan Waiver Ever Solve Farmers’ Issue?

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Srikant Jena, Senior Congress Leader

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Basant Panda, President, BJP, Odisha

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Pratap Deb, Spokesperson, BJD