In a shocking statement that has put the Bharatiya Janata Party, already on back foot due to Lalitgate and Vyapam scam, in a spot, Union Minister of Agriculture Radha Mohan Singh on Friday said that it was love affairs or impotency that caused the death of more than 1,400 farmers in India this year.
In a written reply in Rajya Sabha to a question on what has caused the death of so many farmers in India, Singh said, “According to the National Crime Records Bureau, causes of (farmer) suicides include family problems, illness, drugs… dowry, love affairs and impotency.”
The minister, however, did not rule out debt as one of the reasons.
The remarks have drawn sharp reactions from the Opposition with Janata Dal (United) leader KC Tyagi saying that his party will file a notice against the Agriculture Minister. “The reference to what appears to be a list of general causes for suicide has been slammed by the Opposition as insensitive. The Samajwadi Party’s Naresh Agrawal demanded an apology from the minister saying his remarks were “irresponsible.” KC Tyagi called it an insult to farmers.
The Left’s Sitaram Yechury said the reply was “ridiculous” and alleged it was designed to “divert attention” from a sharp rise in farmer suicides due to agrarian distress.
Congress spokesperson and veteran actor Raj Babbar said: “I don’t think any other party like BJP has so disgusting and insensitive mentality towards the plight of farmers.”
Radha Mohan Singh’s statement has given fresh ammo to the Opposition, which is already hitting out at the government on the controversial land bill by dubbing it as anti-farmer and anti-poor.