Terming the marginal increase of minimum support price (MSP) of cotton and paddy by Union Government as a “cruel joke”, Punjab Congress on Thursday said the stand taken by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on this issue has also exposed this party’s anti-farmer face.
The SAD had on Tuesday hailed the BJP-led NDA government’s decision to affect a steep increase in minimum support prices (MSP) for food grains, pulses, oil seeds and cotton. The party said with this hike, farmers have assured a profit of more than 50 per cent on all expenditure done on their crops, including their own labour, while once again claiming credit for the move.
In a statement issued on Thursday, Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar said when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government was at the center, the then Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Singh Badal never forgot to criticize Center on the crop price issue and at that time they had demanded Rs 1800 per quintal MSP for Paddy.
But now when SAD is the partner in National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at center and even after completion of four year in the power, the NDA government still has not fulfilled the SAD demands, but surprisingly now SAD leaders have nothing to say which reflects their double character on the issues related with farmers.
Jakhar said when the Congress-led government was at the Center during its second tenure in 2009-2014, it had increased MSP of Paddy by 69 per cent and of cotton by 80 per cent, while Modi government during last four years has increased MSP of Paddy only by 41 per cent and of Cotton by 43 per cent.
He said that the statements made by the Modi government to double the income of the farmers by 2022 are a hoax whereas the farmer’s growth rate is declining with every passing day.
Jakhar said that in 2013-14, the price of diesel was Rs 45 per lit whereas now it touches mark of Rs 70, and only during last one year diesel prices were hiked by Rs 15 per liter. In such a case, the marginal increase in the prices of the Kharif crops is not enough to even compensate the effect of diesel price hike.
The Punjab Congress president said that the farmers are very aware now and they will root out the Modi government from power in next general elections of the country.