‘Farmer deaths old problem, steps taken for their relief’

The Asian Age.

Metros, Kolkata

Lashing out at the previous Congress-led UPA government, he also questionned former PM Manmohan Singh’s role in ending the farmers’ difficulties.

Minister of commerce & industry and civil aviation Suresh Prabhu interacts with mediapersons at state BJP office in Kolkata. (Photo: PTI)

Kolkata: Describing the incidents of farmers’ suicides as an “old problem” Union commerce and industries minister Suresh Prabhu on Sunday hailed that the BJP government’s step to alleviate the farmers’ plight as ‘the first of its kind in history of the country.’

Lashing out at the previous Congress-led UPA government, he also questionned former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s role in ending the farmers’ difficulties.

“Farmers’ suicide is a very old problem which has been persisting over the years. It has been four years that our government has been working. Earlier, when Manmohan Singh was the Prime Minister, he assured that he would visit the different places where the farmers committed suicide and he would find a solution staying there. It is not clear what work he did,” Mr Prabhu said at a press meet at the state BJP headquarters.

He argued, “If this problem is not an old one why did Dr Singh visit those places? What did Mr Singh go to see? Did he go to stay in the villages or did he go to see the problems? So this problem is a old one. But to solve the problem the initative our government has taken three months ago is the first of its kind in the history of our country.”

Mr Prabhu added, “As a PM Narendra Modi in his four years has taken many initiatives for the farmers more than what was done for them in the last 70 years.” Rejecting the allegations on the BJP government the civil aviation minister also reasoned that crop failures caused by drought or floods forced the farmers to commit suicide in some parts of the country when the monsoon was yet to arrive.

He highlighted that the Modi government has taken many pro-farmer measures which included increase in the minimum support price for their produces, providing them relief from the agricultural debt and announcing a crop-insurance scheme for them.

Mr Prabhu even went on to claim that Mr Modi is the most popular among the democratically-elected prime ministers across the globe.

He said, “69 per cent of the people are happy with our PM now. No other democratically-elected head of a country can match his popularity in the fifth year of his first term. No one in the country can challenge his popularity.”

On the BJP’s sudden thrust in West Bengal through organising visits by party president Amit Shah, union ministers and the upcoming public meeting of Mr Modi at Midnapore on July 16 keeping an eye on the Lok Sabha elections next year, Mr Prabhu, however ,observed that the party’s state wing has the enough strength and it did not require any additional support.

He noted, “These visits only reflect that the Centre gives importance to West Bengal unlike previous governments when hardly anyone visited the state earlier.”