Mumbai: Hours after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Uttar Pradesh announced a Rs36,000 crore farm loan waiver, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray issued a press release congratulating UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath, and asking his Maharashtra counterpart Devendra Fadnavis to follow suit.
Thackeray’s statement indicates the Shiv Sena, which has frequently altered its stance on farm loan waiver, may take an aggressive stance on the issue.
The timing of Thackeray’s statement could not have come at a more inopportune for the BJP-led government in Maharashtra, with the Congress-led opposition parties in the state announcing earlier in the day that they would continue their ‘Sangharsha Yatra’ till farm loans were waived.
Thackeray pointed out that by taking the farm loan decision in the first cabinet meeting itself, the UP chief minister had proved that the BJP’s electoral promise was not a “jumla”. “If farmers’ loan can be waived in India’s largest state of UP, why can’t a similar measure be announced in Maharashtra where agriculture dominates the economy and where the farmers are committing suicides in large numbers”, Thackeray asked. He has urged Fadnavis to go ahead and follow his UP counterpart in extending relief to farmers in Maharashtra too.
The Shiv Sena chief pointed out that indebtedness was one of the main reasons of farm suicides in Maharashtra apart from crop failure, drought, unseasonal rains, and hailstorms.