Congress slams PM-KISAN launch as 'Cash for Votes' day

Congress slams PM-KISAN launch as 'Cash for Votes' day

Congress on Sunday slammed the BJP for bribing voters ahead of elections on a day Prime Minister Narendra Modi was set to launch the government’s marquee initiative PM-KISAN, an income support scheme for farmers.

“Today is the 'Cash for Vote' day. The BJP government will officially give a bribe of Rs 2000 per agricultural family to get their votes,” former Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said on Twitter.

Modi is set to launch the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) at a function in Gorakhpur on Sunday with the transfer of the first of the three annual instalments of Rs 2000 to about two crore farmers.

“The money will go to the cultivating farmer as well as the absentee landlord,” Chidambaram said.

“Nothing can be more shameful in a democracy than 'Bribe for Votes'. The greater shame is that the Election Commission is unable to stop the 'Bribe for Votes',” he said.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi had also announced a Minimum Income Guarantee scheme for the poor which is expected to be the flagship initiative if the party is voted to power.

The PM-KISAN initiative was announced in the Interim Budget, with the government announcing that the scheme will be implemented with retrospective effect from December.

Under the PM-KISAN scheme, the government had proposed to give Rs 6,000 per year in three instalments to 12 crore small and marginal farmers holding cultivable land up to two hectares.

While the BJP had hailed the initiative as a “political masterstroke”, Congress has been critical of the scheme dismissing it as an attempt to bribe voters ahead of elections.