'What loan waivers? Cong gave lollipops'
Ghazipur (UP): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday accused the Congress of misleading farmers on loan waivers, saying its governments had handed out "lollipops" instead of what was promised. "Be wary of the Congress and its lies," he said at a public meeting in Uttar Pradesh's Ghazipur after laying the foundation stone for a medical college and releasing a postal stamp on legendary king Suheldev.
Modi was on a visit to the Purvanchal region, his second trip to the northern state of Uttar Pradesh this month. He also visited Varanasi, his Lok Sabha constituency, to launch the South Asia Regional Centre of the International Rice Research Institute. The prime minister said that the Congress promised loan waivers to lakhs of farmers, but the Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress coalition that came into power did not deliver.
"Lollipops were handed out. The loan waiver was given to only 800 farmers," he claimed. He said the "lollipop company" had similarly "forgotten" the promises it made before the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. The Congress has in the past denied similar charges made by the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Modi's recent remarks on farm loans follow the waivers announced by the Congress governments in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh after this month's assembly polls. Congress president Rahul Gandhi recently said his party would not let Modi rest till he writes off farm loans across the country.
Modi claimed that under the Congress rule, loans were given to people who were not eligible, while farmers were forced to go to private lenders and fall into debt traps. The prime minister described himself again as a "chowkidar" (watchman) of the people, a term ridiculed by Congress president Rahul Gandhi.