The NCP accused the Devendra Fadnavis government of lacking the will to help farmers who have been bearing the brunt of natural calamities for the last many years.
Addressing a gathering in Bhoom village in Osmanabad district on the occasion of the launch of the second phase of the NCP’s “Hallabol (attack) Yatra”, senior leader Ajit Pawar referred to the last year’s unprecedented strike by farmers for various demands including a loan waiver.
“The Congress-led UPA government had given a loan waiver of Rs 71,000 crore to farmers, but the present government in Maharashtra and Centre has not done so. There should be a will to help farmers. However, the state government lacked any such will,” the former deputy chief minister said.
The Maharashtra government had last June announced a farm loan waiver of Rs 34,000 crore following wide-scale protests by farmers across the state.
“For the first time during the tenure of this government, farmers went on a strike,” Pawar said.
He said farmers in the drought-prone areas of the state would be allotted solar agriculture pumps should the NCP return to power in 2019.
Besides Pawar, senior NCP leaders, including state unit president Sunil Tatkare, Supriya Sule and Dhananjay Munde, were present at the inauguration of the second phase of the stir in the temple town of Tuljapur in Marathwada.
The agitation will cover the entire Marathwada region and conclude at Aurangabad on February 3 when NCP chief Sharad Pawar is expected to participate in a rally. The first phase of the stir was organised last December in Vidarbha.
Ajit Pawar said the Hallabol yatra was not organised with an eye on elections.
“Today there are no elections and still we have come together to fight for farmers of the state because they are suffering,” he added.
Pawar alleged the state government was planning to shut down 80,000 schools across Maharashtra.
Dhananjay Munde, Leader of Opposition in Legislative Council, said the loan waiver announced by the government remained restricted to the online platform only, as “not a single farmer could avail any benefit of the measure because of irregularities”.