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Karnataka elections: BJP focus on farmers as PM Narendra Modi reaches Davangere today

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend a rally to address farmers’ issues, organised by the Karnataka unit of the BJP to mark the 75th birthday of state BJP president and CM candidate B S Yeddyurappa, in the central Karnataka district of Davangere on Tuesday.

With the BJP building a campaign around farmer issues in the run-up to the Assembly polls — by citing farm suicides and accusing the ruling Congress of not waiving farm loans like the BJP-ruled UP and Maharastra governments — PM Modi is expected to highlight recent initiatives of the NDA government to address distress in the agriculture sector.

While the BJP has played the Hindu card in coastal districts, it is attempting to win over the farming community in much of the rest of Karnataka by highlighting farm distress and the occurence of 3,000 farmer suicides in the last five years. The BJP has cited Congress failure to facilitate central schemes in the state like crop insurance as a cause for the deaths.

BJP president Amit Shah, on a recent trip to north Karnataka, visited the home of a farmer who committed suicide in Kalaburagi region. He also held discussions with sugarcane farmers on the BJP’s budget announcement of payment of minimum support price for crops at 1.5 times the cost of production. Shah has stated that the BJP will ensure payment of all dues to sugarcane farmers from sugar factories soon after elections if it is elected to power and the reopening of closed factories.

In Kalaburagi on Monday, Shah said the BJP would bring water from Mahadayi river to districts in north Karnataka. “I can promise that the BJP will solve the Mahadayi river dispute,” he said. “The youth and farmers are fed up with the 3D politics of the Congress —dhokha, dadagiri and dynasty. It is time to replace dynastic politics with development politics.”

At a press conference in Kalaburagi, the BJP leader also said the party will consider waiver of loans of farmers from nationalised banks if it is elected to power. “Apart from loan waiver, there are many other problems of farmers that we are addressing. The issue of loan waiver will be looked at when the BJP is in government,” he said.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has frequently accused the BJP government at the Centre of waiving Karnataka farmers’ loans from nationalised banks on the lines of a waiver granted by the UPA government a few years ago and a waiver of Rs 8000 crore of loans from cooperative banks that has been granted during Siddaramaiah’s tenure.
Yeddyurappa has been promising that he will bring Rs 1 lakh crore worth of irrigation projects to the state.

Rahul targets PM

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday accused PM Narendra Modi of favouring the “super rich” and questioned why he had still not appointed a Lokpal to fight corruption. He also questioned his “silence” on issues such as the PNB fraud.

“In Gujarat, Modiji did not implement Lokayukta. It has been four years since he became Prime Minister… He did not implement Lokpal even in Delhi,” he said. “Lalit Modi and Vijay Mallya ran away to London… Modiji practise as you preach, do something and show. You are surrounded with corruption, wherever you see there is corruption; do something.”

Recalling that the PM had spoken about providing employment to 2 crore people every year, he said China creates 50,000 jobs in 24 hours while India creates 450 jobs in 24 hours. “.after all that dhoom dham Narendra Modi with 56- inch chest gives only 450 jobs in 24 hours,: he said.

Rahul, who addressed meetings in Bagalkote, Belagavi and Dharwar districts, on Monday concluded the second leg of his three-day tour of the northern parts of the state.

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