Mumbai: In an attempt to woo farmers and tribals, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made two big announcements on Monday — loan waiver and pension for all farmers and no shrinking of the constitutional reservation granted to tribals and other communities. Modi conducted rallies in Pimpalgaon-Baswant and Dindori in Nashik district and the tribal district of Nandurbar in north Maharashtra. T
his region will go to polls in the fourth phase on April 29. Nandurbar has been a bastion of the Congress and the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The party’s former president Sonia Gandhi had begun her poll drive in the state from Nandurbar as it is considered a lucky constituency.
Modi’s rally at Pimpalgaon – an area dominated by onion farmers — failed to get a decent response. Farmers were seen leaving the pandal once Modi started his speech. On the other hand, in Nandurbar, the BJP managed to rustle up a huge crowd for the rally.
Addressing a poll rally at Nandurbar, Modi accused the opposition parties of spreading rumours that reservation percentage would be modified if he returned to power. Modi said, “I will ensure the quota quantum is not disturbed. I am at the helm of affairs at Centre, nobody can touch the reservation given by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar.”
Modi also assured people in tribal-dominated constituencies in north Maharashtra that his government would ensure they would not be evicted from their land. He said, in Maharashtra alone, 1.25 crore farmers’ families are benefiting from the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Samman Yojana.
“If voted to power again, we will remove the upper land holding limit of five acres,” Modi said. Recalling that it was in Nandurbar that the Aadhaar scheme was launched in 2010, Modi said his government had ensured its wider impact. However, he said, now the Congress has approached the Supreme Court against the Aadhaar card.
Modi revealed that his government was planning something big for farmers after his party would come to power. “After our government is re-elected, we will remove the condition of five acres of land ownership and will provide loan waiver to all farmers. The waiver amount will be deposited into the account of every farmer. We are also planning to start a pension scheme for farmers,” he said.
According to the farm loan waiver scheme, only small and marginal farmers, holding less than five acres of land, are entitled to the benefit. For farmers holding over five acres, a 25 per cent concession on a one-time settlement of outstanding amount is offered.