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MP: Congress Offers Free Electricity to Farmers, Withdrawal of Power Theft Cases Ahead of Polls

Kashif Kakvi |
Eyeing the 82 lakh registered farmers of the state, the Congress has also announced to waive off pending electricity bills of farmers.

Bhopal: In poll-bound Madhya Pradesh, the Congress has announced free electricity for farmers under the Krishi Nyay Yojana. The party has already announced a farm loan waiver of upto Rs 2 lakh.

Eyeing the 82 lakh registered farmers of the state, the Congress has announced to waive off pending electricity bills of farmers, free electricity for using five horsepower pumps, withdrawal of First Information Reports (FIRs) lodged against them for holding protests or over power theft and guaranteed for 12 hours of undisrupted electricity supply.

"In 15 months of government, the Congress has already waived off farm loans of 27 lakh small farmers, and now we are announcing Krishi Nyay Yojana to waive off pending electricity bills of the farmers and offer free electricity," said Kamal Nath addressing a press conference at Bhopal party office on Wednesday. "The scheme will benefit 37 lakh farmers. It will be launched to reduce the rising cost of agriculture and diesel,” he said.

On Wednesday, the party said farmers did not get the fertiliser, seed and the Minimum Support price (MSP). However, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) claimed to double farmers' income.

The Congress said that in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in Rewa last month lied that the income of farmers has doubled in Madhya Pradesh. "His lies were exposed when in December 2022, the parliamentary committee of the NDA (National Democratic Alliance) government kept Madhya Pradesh among four states where farmers' income has deteriorated. The farmers' income which was Rs 9,740 per month in 2015-16, has shrunk to Rs 8,339 per month," says the official communique issued by the party.

Castigating the BJP, Nath said, "As many as 20,489 farmers have committed suicide during the BJP rule. The BJP stopped the farm loan waiver scheme making over 34 lakh farmers defaulters. But we will resume the farmer loan waiver scheme if voted to power. The party will ensure rightful MSP, a crackdown against the fake seed and fertiliser mafia."

He added that the criminal cases registered against the farmers for protesting against power shortage, replacement of defective transformers, and false allegations of power theft and oppression will be withdrawn. Besides, the FIR lodged for opposing repressive agriculture laws during Kisan Andolan will also be withdrawn.

"On one hand, the BJP government offers Rs 6,000 to farmers under Kisan Samman Nidhi. On the other hand, lakhs of farmers were deliberately declared ineligible, given recovery notices and seized their cattle, bike, goats and others to recover electricity bills," said the party's official communique.

When asked if such freebies would be financially feasible and if they could hurt the state's financial condition, Nath responded, "The agriculture department officials were against the farm loan waiver. Yet, I implemented it keeping the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, 2003."

The opposition Congress is cornering the government on many fronts, not just on farm issues. Speaking at an event organised by Other Backward Classes (OBC) Mahasahba members on Sunday, Congress' Chief Ministerial candidate Kamal Nath announced to conduct caste census if voted to power. "Why is BJP afraid of caste census?" he asked. "We will conduct it to understand the socio-economic condition of the various castes." 

“When Congress was in power in 2019, CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan was often seen advising consumers in a public rally, "Don't pay electricity bills and don't buy inverters. We will face it if anyone comes to disconnect the connection. But When Shivraj became chief minister in 2020, since then, his government is running a recovery campaign against those who didn't pay the bills. Where is Mama now?" asked Nath.

Accusing CM Chouhan of being anti-farmer, the probe report of the June 6, 2017, Mandsaur police firing is yet to be tabled even after six years. Besides, on the lines of three agriculture laws, the BJP government also implemented similar schemes to hand over the farmers' land to capitalists.

Reacting to the announcements made by Nath, BJP spokesperson Narendra Saluja said, "The BJP government under Shivraj Singh Chouhan is already providing subsidy to farmers using five horsepower pumps. The BJP government had also waved off electricity dues during the pandemic, while cases against farmers have already been taken back, and 12 hours of electricity is being provided. Moreover, the BJP government is also helping farmers who became defaulters because of the Congres government's false promises of loan waivers. BJP waived off the interest rates of defaulting farmers."

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