Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy on Saturday turned into a farmer to sow seeds for a bumper paddy crop at a farm at Aralakuppe village in Mandya district, about 100 km from here.
“I have joined my farmer brothers and sisters in sowing paddy seedlings hoping for a good crop,” the Chief Minister said on the occasion.
Clad in a “dhoti” like a traditional farmer, Kumaraswamy got into a wet field and sowed the seedlings along with at least 100 other men and women farmers.
Claiming to hail from a farmers’ family, the Chief Minister assured the farmers his support and asked them not to commit suicide over failed crops.
“The Chief Minister joined the farmers in the sowing activity to give farmers hope and confidence,” a statement from the Chief Minister’s Office added.
The farm loans of over 20 lakh farmers will be waived off by the state soon, he told the farming community, amid chants by farmers and supporters calling him “Kumar anna” (Kumar brother), as he is dearly addressed in rural Karnataka.
The state cabinet has recently agreed to waive off additional crop loans to the tune of Rs 9,448-crore, apart from the Rs 34,000-crore worth loans from state co-operative banks that Kumaraswamy had announced to wave during his budget speech on July 5.
After the sowing activity, Kumaraswamy also had lunch with the farmers in the field.
As part of the old Mysuru region, Mandya, facing a rainfall deficit, still hopes to receive rains for a good agricultural output.
Meanwhile, the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state President B.S. Yeddyurappa dubbed the Chief Minister’s act a “stunt” and said the state has failed to waive crop loans so far and has not responded to farmers’ issues.