AHMEDABAD: Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Thursday claimed the Congress was shedding crocodile tears for farmers since many years, while real work for the welfare of the farming community was done by the BJP governments in Gujarat and at the Centre.
Addressing a gathering in Bhuj town of Kutch district, Rupani alleged that protesting farmers were even shot dead during the Congress’s rule in Gujarat.
He was speaking on the occasion of the ‘Kisan Samman Diwas’, organised by the state government as part of the nine-day celebrations to mark the completion of his five years as CM.
Rupani became the chief minister of Gujarat on August 7, 2016, following the resignation of incumbent Anandiben Patel, and continued in office after the BJP’s victory in the 2017 Assembly elections.
Notably, thousands of farmers have been camping at Delhi’s borders since November 2020 to protest against three new farm laws of the Centre.
The Congress had hit out at the Narendra Modi government over the woes of cultivators.
Rupani said, “The Congress always sheds crocodile tears in the name of farmers. In reality, farmers were reeling under huge debts and were forced to commit suicide in their rule.”
“Farmers knew your reality, that is why the Congress got wiped out in the recent panchayat elections. Farmers, who demanded timely payment of crop insurance, were shot dead in your (Congress’s) rule,” the chief minister alleged.
While the Congress always talks about farm loan waiver, it waived off cultivators’ debts worth Rs 70,000 crore only once in 10 years of the UPA rule, he said.
“On the other side, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is depositing Rs 6,000 in the bank accounts of farmers every year under the ‘Kisan Samman Nidhi’ scheme….Rs 8,00,000 crore have been disbursed to farmers across the country in just five years,” Rupani said.
Referring to previous Congress governments in Gujarat, Rupani said cultivators used to pay 18 per cent interest on farm loans, which has now been brought to zero by the BJP government in the state.
“Since private insurance firms were not paying the sum assured in time, my government introduced the ‘Kisan Kalyan Yojna ‘as an alternative to crop insurance, and has so far disbursed Rs 9,000 crore.
Despite a gradual rise in coal prices over the years, we never increased the power tariff for agricultural connections in the 25 years of BJP rule in Gujarat,” the chief minister said.
Claiming that villages and farmers were deprived of electricity connections during the Congress rule, Rupani said his government facilitated 5.5 lakh agricultural connections in the last five years and provided three-phase electricity to ensure 24-hour power supply in rural areas.
On the occasion, the chief minister launched the ‘Kisan Suryoday Yojna’ for another 1,400 villages.
Till now, 5,000 villages were already covered under the scheme and the state government plans to cover all 18,000 villages by the end of 2022, he said.
The state government had launched the scheme last year with an aim to provide day-time power supply to farmers for irrigation.
Rupani also announced plans for an agricultural college and a veterinary college in Kutch district, which has the highest number of cattle in the state.