Modi reaches out to farmers, promises high MSPs for crops

PATHANKOT(TIP): Seeking to woo farmers, Bharatiya Janata Party prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on April 25 promised that minimum support price will be fixed to ensure 50% profit for agriculturalists and a major irrigation programme will be launched if NDA comes to power.

Addressing a rally in Punjab, which is a leading agrarian state, the BJP leader said, “If NDA comes to power it will ensure remunerative prices to the farmers by adding 50% profit into the peasants’ input cost.” He also accused Congress of joining hands with NGOs to run a one-point programme to stop him from coming to power but said they will fail due to the “hurricane” of support for the party.

“Normally, political opponents get together to remove the ruling party but it is for the first time that the ruling party in association with NGOs and others has run a one-point programme not to save the government or form the government but only to stop Modi from coming to power,” he said. “We will fix the MSP (Minimum Support Price) of crops incorporating 50% profit in farmers cost of production including seed, irrigation, manure, labour ” he said, adding that no one will be allowed to loot farmers.

Lamenting that farmers were facing hardships, he accused the Congress-led UPA government of making insufficient hike in the crop MSP during its tenure. “Today, the MSP is being hiked in the range Rs200, Rs250, Rs300…your produce keeps rotting,” he said. Modi said that on the lines of Prime Minister Gram Sadak Yojana during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s rule, if NDA comes to power again, they will start Pradhan Mantri Krishi Seechayee Yojana. Just 35% of the total agricultural land in India is irrigated while the rest is rain-fed. Modi said that former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri had given the slogan of ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kisan’, “which this government changed to ‘Mar Jawan, Mar Kisan’”.

“You will be surprised to learn that the number of farmers who have been forced to commit suicide is more than the number of jawans who died fighting the wars,” he said. Reffering to the incidents on the border, he said, “Terrorists were killing our jawans, but government was acting as mute spectator”. Asserting that the next government at the Centre will be formed by the BJP-ed NDA, he said it is clear that the places which have voted, they have already shown the exit door to the UPA. They have laid a strong foundation for the coming government and those who have to cast votes in the upcoming phases of the elections, have to do vote for strong government at the Centre. Modi said, “There is hurricane ( of support in favour of BJP) and Congress leaders are aware where they will go after 16 May (date of announcement of results)”.

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“Congress leaders are shivering,” he said adding that he was confident that Congress and UPA will even fail to open account in many states and their tally will be restricted to single digit in all states. “Congress will not be able to touch the double figure mark in any of the states,” he said. Modi was addressing ‘Bharat Vijay rally’ in border area in Gurdaspur parliamentary constituency where actorturned politician Vinod Khanna is contesting. Polling will take place here on 30 April along with 12 other constituencies of the state.

Khanna is pitted against Punjab Congress President Pratap Singh Bajwa, the sitting MP from Gurdaspur. Modi heaped praise on Khanna, saying he was “more of your friend than an (ex) MP”. The Gujarat chief minister said that he had been impressed with Khanna when he had lent a helping hand to the Gujarat earthquake victims in 2001. “He spent a month in the state helping the victims. Despite being a star, he showed no tantrums,” he said. Seeking to strike an emotional chord with the people, he said he had worked in Punjab earlier and was well aware with the region, its people’s and their problems.

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