By Santosh Bhartiya
It is a well-known fact that the BJP – from its Jan Sangh avatar to the advent of Modi era – has never kept farmers on its priorities, instead they treat them as unwanted children who have been thrust upon them. However, they never shy away from invoking farmer-related issues to win elections, and once they win and formed governments (whether at the centre or in the states), they abandon the issues they themselves had raised. It is a sad commentary. In 2014 elections, the farmers voted en-masse for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, believing in his promises that he made during run up to his election campaign. He promised the farmers that if elected his government will ensure a profit of at least one and a half times the cost incurred on farming. The gullible farmers took that on face value, they were unaware of the fact that in days to come it will become – what the BJP President Amit Shah later enunciated – a “Jumla”. It should be evident that Narendra Modi, during run up to his election campaign, had promised to make every bank account richer by 15 lakh rupees. In due course of time Amit Shah called it a mere “Jumla”, that is a blatant lie. The promise of giving a fixed profit the farmers against their produce falls under the same league, as there is a deafening silence on the issue: no discussion, no plans and no visible intent.
In the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections as well the Prime Minister had promised that the first decision of his party’s cabinet will be debt waiver of farmers. The first Cabinet meeting of the Yogi government was delayed, and once the meeting took place the debt waiver was announced. Though the announcement was made to waive a loan of up to one lakh rupees, the execution was kept on hold till the budget is announced. When the lid was lifted and the budget was announced, farmers got awe struck. They not only feel cheated but also humiliated as if they were slapped in public.
Farmers in the state believe the misery afflicted on them is not afflicted without the consent of Prime Minister Modi. In all probability the UP Government in consultation with ministry of finance and the central government is playing this joke on them. However, in compliance with farm loan waiver up to one lakh rupees, certificates are now being distributed in every district, which is nothing but a farce. The competent bank officials in Western UP have calculated farmers loans in such a way that a farmer in Baghpat got a waiver of 8 paisa, while a Bijnor farmer got 9 paisa in lieu of his loan. The list of the farmers who got Rs. 50 to 100 is quite long. It is but natural for them to get disturbed and to feel cheated.
As far as the certificate distribution drive was concerned it was initiated by the Chief Minister Adityanath Yogi ten days ago. Expecting a relief of Rs one lakh, the farmers were dumbfounded when they were handed a certificate with a waiver of Rs. 500, 100 and 50. They are now demanding an inquiry. Curiously, the farmers are asking to investigate issue with those who themselves have inflicted this misery on them.
Take the case of Bijnor where in the first phase, out of 14,188 farmers to be benefited from this drive, 5026 were identified and given certificates; many of them got a waiver of Rs. 100, 38 and even Rs. 10. Of course 114 farmers have got one lakh, but there are farmers like the one who had taken a loan of 60 thousand and got only Rs. 18 in the waiver certificate. The number of farmers who got less than Rs. 1000 is around 23, who got a waiver ranging from 3 paise to Rs. 377. The list of some of the beneficiaries is as follows: Ballia of Nagina got 9 paise, Charan Singh of Basta got 84 paise, Ramdhan of Aaku got Rs. 2, Ghagesh of Afzalgarh got Rs. 6, Heera of Bhandwar got Rs. 3, Jaswanti of Bank Chawk Nazimabad got Rs. 21, Dayaram of Heerakpur got Rs. 91.52, Padama Devi of Nataur got Rs. 115, Baljit Singh of Dahmpur got Rs 126, Daulat Singh of Kiratpur got Rs. 377. Who should get the credit for achieving such a great feat: the government or the farmers who were forced feed with this idea during Uttar Pradesh elections?
Another such story emerged from Baghpat of western Uttar Pradesh where farmers have got a waiver of up to Rs. 8. A list of such beneficiaries are as follows: Satpal of Lohara got 14.38 paise, Dhiraj of Kanta got Rs. 8, Tirpal Singh of Faizpur Karana got Rs. 8, Sauraj Singh of Hisabada got Rs. 156.61, Mahesh of Naithla got 22.66, Tejpal Singh of Pali got 959. Similarly, Inamuddin got 8 paise from Pusar branch of Canara Bank, Suresh Pal Singh got Rs. 6 from in his Syndicate Bank account, Babar Singh and Satpal Singh of Hara village got Rs. 9 and 12 respectively as waiver. There were about 22 farmers who have got a debt waiver of up to Rs 50.
Now the pertinent question: is it this tale limited only to these two districts or is it the case for the rest of the state? As per my information, this is the case in most of the districts of the state. Now what inference can be drawn from these figures: Is it manipulation of data by officials or is it a result of cooking the book by bank officials or the government willfully outraging farmers after taking their votes? The fact is that UP government is silent. Neither the Agricultural Secretary nor the chief minister or the information department opening up on the issue, he only thing being done is the distribution of certificates. UP government did advertise the drive, but the information as to how much money is being distributed remain wrapped under carpet.
All in all it can be said that the farmers have never experience such a cruel joke, such a blatant lie, such a grand deception. And to add salt to their injuries, agriculture minister of Madhya Pradesh or some other state, and some BJP MPs during their conversation often say outrageous things like suicide by farmers has become a fashion and the demand of loan waiver is a plot hatched by opposition parties against them. However, it was not the plot of the Congress party or the Samajwadi Party or the opposition parties or the farmers, it is the BJP which during the election campaign has made a promise that as soon as they will form a government, they will waive farm loans up to rupees one lakh. I am not saying that telling lies to win elections will stop in future, but the sad part of such thing is that the government which gets elected by farmers’ votes starts playing cruel jokes on them.
Then who is responsible for such acts? Is it the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath? As far as he is concerned he must be aware of the kind of certificates are being distributed in the name of debt waiver. If he is unaware, it means the Chief Minister’s Office is not working properly. If he is aware of the fact and kept silence then it should be construed that he is involved in this conspiracy or it is happening at the behest of the Central Government. Sadly, the farmer leaders of the BJP who often raised the issue related to farmers are silent as well. The Uttar Pradesh BJP has plunged into a complete silent. It is self-evident that the BJP leaders and its government are involved in the game of humiliating farmers.