'Centre wants to wear farmers down, not solve issues'

Centre not willing to solve farmers' issues, want to wear them down: Congress

Surjewala said despite tall promises made to farmers, the truth was that not all farmer beneficiaries had been credited the amount under the PM-KISAN

Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala. Credit: PTI File Photo

Hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi blamed those with a political agenda for the deadlock in talks over agriculture laws, the Congress hit back, saying the government does not want to solve farmers’ problem and trying to “wear them down”.

“The entire country listened to Prime Minister Modi's clarification on TV today. They say bigger the crime bigger the clarification and the prime minister is just doing that,” Surjewala said, claiming that the PM and his ministers are only giving “clarifications” without looking into the plight of farmers.

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“For a month, farmers are protesting near Delhi's borders in this cold weather. Forty-four of them have already died due to various reasons but the pro-capitalist government is not moved,” senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala told reporters here on Friday.

“The prime minister and the BJP government is working on the policy of wearing them down. The bitter truth is that the Modi government does not want to solve the farmers' problem,” he claimed.

Surjewala said the ruling party leaders are branding farmers as “Naxals, terrorists, Chinese and Pakistan agents, tukde-tukde gang".

The Congress stands shoulder-to-shoulder with farmers as it involved the question of lives and livelihoods of crores of farmers of this country, he said.

“This is not a political fight, this is not the BJP versus Congress fight, not opposition versus ruling party fight,” he said.

Surjewala said on six occasions farmers went to their doors with their pain and sought justice. “But it seems the government has made up its mind not to find a solution,” he said.

Surjewala, who is Congress' general secretary and chief spokesperson, said despite tall promises made to farmers, the truth was that not all farmer beneficiaries had been credited the amount under the PM-KISAN.

“As per the 2015-16 agriculture census, 14.64 crore farmers in the country undertake cultivation on 15.78 crore hectares. The Modi government launched the Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojna in December 2018 in which it was stated that Rs 6,000 will be deposited into the accounts of all farmers in three installments,” he said.

“Under this scheme, in the year 2018-19, instead of Rs 88,000 crore, only Rs 6,005 crores was deposited. In 2019-20, Rs 49,196 crore was deposited and in 2020-21, Rs 38,872 crore has been given till date, whereas this amount should have been Rs 88,000 crore,” Surjewala added.

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Surjewala asked why the benefit of the scheme is being denied to around 5.40 crore farmers.

“Why have these farmers been kept out of the ambit of this scheme,” he asked.

On Friday, Modi had asserted that his government is willing to hold dialogues with all, including those staunchly opposed to it, as long as talks are based on farm issues, facts and logic.

In a blistering speech targeting the Opposition, Modi said when the agitation began farmers had some genuine demands like guaranteed minimum support price but people with political motives then took over and began making unrelated demands like the release of those accused of violence and making highways toll-free.

Modi's address followed the release of over Rs 18,000 crore into accounts of more than nine crore farmer families under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojan.