Saving farmers is the priority of his government, Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy said, as he promised to honour his commitment to waive farm loans within 15 days and insisted there was “no going back” on it.
Kumaraswamy, under attack from the BJP over the alleged delay in fulfilling his pre-poll assurance to the farming community, met representatives of farmers groups and progressive peasants to discuss the problems faced by them.
“We will come to a decision in 15 days. In 15 days, it will get completely implemented….Whatever may be the difficulty, our government is committed to maintaining fiscal discipline, and also saving you (farmers),” Kumaraswamy told the meeting after listening to farmers for about three hours.
Kumaraswamy said he and Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara will discuss the issue with Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
The chief minister said Gandhi was also committed to farm loan waiver.
“I’m getting it (the loan amount) calculated, whatever thousand crore rupees it is….saving you is our government’s responsibility,” he told the gathering.
The meeting was attended by Parameshwara, deputy leader of opposition in the Assembly Govinda Karajola (BJP), and senior officials of the state government.
Kumaraswamy also said he would call a meeting of representatives of nationalised banks in 2-3 days and seek information about farm loans extended by them.
In the run up to the Assembly polls, The JD(S) leader had promised to write off agricultural loans totalling a whopping Rs 53,000 crore within 24 hours of coming to power.
The BJP has been targeting him over the “delay” in keeping that promise, and had called a statewide bandh on Monday which evoked a lukewarm response.
The chief minister had recently said he would retire from politics if he failed to honour the promise, and asked farmers not to “fall prey to the BJP conspiracy”.
But before doing that, he had said, since he was heading a coalition government, he would have to consult the alliance partner and take into account the financial condition of the state.
Leader of the Opposition B S Yeddyurappa had on Monday threatened action against the state government if it failed to write off farm loans within a week.