New Delhi: A Rahul Gandhi-led Congress delegation on Friday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi to highlight the plight of farmers in the country and demanded a loan waiver for them.
During the meeting, which came in the backdrop of Gandhi’s fierce attack on the Prime Minister over demonetisation, top Congress leaders presented a memorandum to Modi on demands of farmers including loan waiver, reducing power bills to half and remunerative MSP for farm produce.
The delegation included Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, deputy leaders in both Houses Anand Sharma and Jyotiraditya Scindia, Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh and UP Congress chief Raj Babbar.
After the meeting, the Congress Vice President said that Modi heard them patiently but did not commit anything.
“We, Congress party delegation, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the plight of farmers of this country. Every single day, a farmer is committing suicide in Punjab. Farmers are committing suicide all over the country.
“The government has removed the import duty on wheat.
This is a devastating blow. So we went to the Prime Minister to request him on behalf of farmers of this country to waive their loans,” he told reporters.
He said the Prime Minister accepted that the situation of farmers is serious but did not say anything on loan waiver.
Sources said the Prime Minister gave the delegation a patient hearing and told Rahul Gandhi to “keep meeting him”.
Gandhi has been targeting the Prime Minister often, with his latest offensive being on demonetisation. He claimed on Wednesday that he had information about alleged “personal corruption” of the Prime Minister, but the BJP dismissed it as a “joke”.
Gandhi had raised the farmers issue during his recent Deoria to Delhi yatra in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh. The Congress has collected over 2 crore “Kisan maang patras” from across Uttar Pradesh and over 34 lakh from Punjab which also goes to polls early next year.
During Congress’ yatra in Uttar Pradesh, Gandhi said the farmers had put forward their three requests– loan waiver, reducing the power bills to half and getting remunerative MSP for their produce.
“We told Prime Minister that the way government had waived Rs 1,40,000 crore, the same way farmers’ loan should be waived,” he said, adding the delegation also raised the issue of plight of farmers in Maharashtra and Karnataka.