Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has promised farmers in Chhattisgarh that all farm loans will be waived off within 10 days of the Congress forming government in the state, as the party had done in Punjab and Karnataka.
Speaking at a farmers' rally at Science College ground, Raipur, Rahul said the promise of the waiver was not made in vain and that it will be kept.
The UPA government has waived off loans to the tune of Rs 70,000 crore in the country, he said, adding that it could have been around Rs 85,000 crore.
He said the Modi government had waived Rs 3.5 lakh crores in loans taken by 15 selected industrialists, while not a single rupee was waived for farmers.
"(The waiver) is not a gift given to farmers, but their right. A farmer works in his fields from early in the morning and his family also joins him, even if there is heat or lack of water and power," Rahul said.
"The new (Congress) state government will stand along with the farmers on the field even when he is working with the spade. He will feel the backing of government at all levels, whether regarding seeds, fertilizers, water, power or to sell the produce," he said.
"The government will open food-processing plants in each district, which will not be 20-50 km away, but near the fields. It will provide employment to lakhs of rural youth. Vegetable, fruit, rice or wheat produced by farmers will be processed here, not to provide minimum price but instead the best possible price. Farmers can go to processing units and sell it at right rate and price," the Congress president said.
He asked the leaders on the dais how much a packet of potato chips cost, and said a farmer will get a share of the cost of the packet, say it costs Rs 20.
He said government hospitals will be provided with all necessary facilities and that the treatment will be made available at minimum cost.
"Farmers who are unable to provide higher education to their children — for them better colleges and universities will be opened, where they can make their children engineers, doctors, lawyers, or take up other professions," he said.
On tribal issues, Rahul Gandhi said the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act 1996, Tribal Bill and others laws will be enforced, and that tribal land acquired by the government will be given four times the market price.
Rahul also reiterated that the Congress will not allow parachute candidates and they will have to fight from polling booth, to prove the point that the Congress stands for communal harmony, unity and diversity.
He also spoke about how Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh's son Abhishek's name had figured in the Panama papers, but how no action had been taken.