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Rahul, Kamal Nath must apologise for reneging on promise to farmers: M.P. Minister

Cong. said it will waive crop loans up to ₹2 lakh within 10 days of coming to power: Kamal Patel

Madhya Pradesh Agriculture Minister Kamal Patel on Friday called upon Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Kamal Nath to apologise to the farmers for reportedly reneging on their party’s promise ahead of the 2018 Assembly election to waive crop loans up to ₹2 lakh within 10 days of coming to power, a charge the party has rubbished.

“I give them an ultimatum of 24 hours to apologise,” Mr. Patel told reporters here. “Otherwise, I will make farmers in every district file complaints of fraud and conspiracy against them, based on which FIRs will be registered.”

Mr. Patel contended that the Congress betrayed farmers who voted it to power. “Former Chief Minister Kamal Nath passed an order relating to the waiver on December 17 that year, but nothing came of it in 10 days as promised. Loans of farmers up to ₹2 lakh have still not been waived,” he alleged.

An embarrassment

On September 21, in a written reply to questions of two Congress MLAs in the Vidhan Sabha, Mr. Patel said waiver for nearly 27 lakh farmers had been approved since December 2018. However, it was the Congress government that was in power then. It lost power only in March this year.

The answers embarrassed the BJP government, prompting another Minister to claim government officials in the department had provided incorrect information. Meanwhile, Mr. Patel said an inquiry had been initiated.

“Figures given in Vidhan Sabha are the ones District Collectors uploaded on a portal of farmers eligible for the waiver. But farmers did not receive money in their bank accounts,” claimed Mr. Patel.

Congress spokesman Bhupendra Gupta demanded a public apology from the Agriculture Minister. “He has spoken about an FIR in the past too, and now admitted to the figures in the Assembly.” Mr. Gupta pointed out that the Minister was yet to move an amendment to the answers in the House, until which the information provided on the floor was indisputable.

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