DW BUREAU / Chandigarh
Days after the Centre hiked the MSP of 14 kharif crops, the Congress on Monday accused the NDA government of using “fake facts” to claim farmers would be given the promised cost plus fifty per cent profit and challenged Prime Minister Narendra Modi for an open debate on agricultural issues. The opposition party’s communications in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala alleged that having failed to meet its pre-poll promise of doubling farmers’ incomes, BJP and its allies were trying to “hoodwink” the people.
“Staring at an imminent defeat, the Modi government has attempted to disguise the MSP announcement of July, 4, 2018 as an electoral lollipop for credit seeking and duping the farmers,” Surjewala said at a press conference here.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and state Agriculture Minister O P Dhankar went to the extent of dancing on these lies. Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) has announced a thanksgiving rally in Malout in Punjab on July 11 to be addressed by the prime minister, Surjewala said.
“Fake-congratulatory publicity” and “false-drum beating”, can manage headlines but not provide relief to the farmers, he added.
We challenge the prime minister and the Union agriculture minister for an “open debate” on MSP and other farmer issues, Surjewala said.
He said the Congress will present all facts and expose the government’s claims. Congress will also raise this issue before the Parliament, he added. Surjewala said that had the Modi government given cost plus 50 per cent profit in real terms in the past four years, farmers would have earned an additional Rs 2 lakh crore.
But Modiji and BJP will not tell this to the nation, he said.
Surjewala sought to know if the increase in input costs like fertilisers, pesticides, diesel, farm equipment etc were factored in the MSP hike.
“No one is disputing there has been an increase in MSP, so just say you have increased the MSP. However, don’t hoodwink or mislead and present fake facts to say you have given cost plus 50 per cent profit,” he said.
For the first time, there is GST on fertilisers, tractors, on farm equipment, on pesticides and agri-indebtedness has not been addressed at all, he said.