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Will waive farm loans in 10 days of coming to power: Rahul

He also said that the Congress after coming to power in the state would change the Gabbar Singh Tax to real GST.

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Rahul Gandhi
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Satna, Sep 27 (IANS) Wooing farmers in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh, party President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday promised to waive farm loans within 10 days of coming to power.

The Congress chief also said that once his party comes to power at the Centre, changes would be made to GST to reduce rates on items.

“You remember that the Congress has waived the farm loans worth Rs 70,000 crore. You saw how we waived the farm loan of farmers in the state within 10 days after coming to power in Karnataka,” Gandhi said addressing a public meeting here.

“If voted to power, we shall waive the farm loans of farmers within 10 days,” he said.

Gandhi also said that he could never even think of lying and making false promises to people like depositing Rs 15 lakh in every account.

He also said that the Congress after coming to power in the state would change the Gabbar Singh Tax to real GST.

“As soon as we come to power, we will change the ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’ into the real GST. We will implement one tax at lowest rates,” he said, adding that the government would use its power to generate employment in the state,” Gandhi said, who is on a two-day visit to Madhya Pradesh, where the elections are slated later this year.

Earlier in the day he visited the Kamta Nath temple, dedicated to Lord Ram, which is located in the forested hills of Kamadgiri and performed ‘puja’. Gandhi had earlier also made a visit to the state on September 17 and held a road show in the state capital Bhopal.

He also slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi government over Rafale fighter jet deal and dared him to break his silence in any of his public rallies.

“The UPA government started the talks for 126 Rafale fighter jets from France. The UPA government gave the contract to the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) so that the youths of the country would have got employment,” he said.

Slamming the Prime Minister, Gandhi said, “The UPA government negotiated the deal to buy per Rafale aircarft for Rs 526 crore. But then our Prime Minister, who is a chowkidaar (watchman) goes to France and changes the contract. He removes HAL and gives it to his friend who has a debt of Rs 45,000 crore of bank and who has not built a single aircraft in his life.”

“And few days ago, even the former French President (Francois Hollande) said that the name of the Indian private firm was not taken by French government or the company which manufactures Rafale. But it was said to us by the Indian government and their Prime Minister that the contract needs to be given to the private firm,” he alleged.

“The watchman let the theft of Rs 30,000 crore happen. The watchman is thief,” he thundered.

Slamming the Prime Minister for his silence over the Rafale deal, Gandhi dared him to speak up why the offset contract was not given to HAL, why the deal was not discussed with the Defence Minister and why the ex-French President was now accusing him as a thief?

Gandhi also accused Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman of speaking “untruth” on the Rafale deal issue.

“In Parliament, the defence minister said the price of Rafale fighter plane cannot be disclosed due to secret pact. I met the French president (Emmanuel Macron), who said there is no such pact and the price can be disclosed,” he said.

Gandhi said that the prime minister spoke for one-and-a-half hours in Parliament but he did not speak on the Rafale issue.

He also accused Modi of disregarding the hard work of people of India from the ramparts of Red Fort on August 15 when he said “he changed the country in last four years”.

The Congress chief also charged Finance Minister Arun Jaitley of helping fugitive businessman, Vijay Mallya, who is wanted in India for defrauding banks to the tune of Rs 9,000 crore escape from the country.

“Mallya escapes from country with Rs 9,000 crore. And before escaping the country he meet Finance Minister in Parliament and says to him that I am going to London,” he said.

“But the Finance Minister did not inform the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate and let Mallya escape from country. And Modi also remains silent on that,” he added.

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Madhya Pradesh farmers hopeful of being ‘debt-free’ as loan waiver scheme kicks-off

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Bhopal, Jan 22 : A week after the launch of the loan waiver scheme in Madhya Pradesh, the Congress government claims 19.54 lakh farmers have filed their applications in the six days till Sunday.

While the opposition BJP has been calling the “Jai Kisan Rin Mukti Yojana” a trick to cheat the farmers, the question is how the farmers of the state perceive the entire exercise.

Kailash Chaudhary, a farmer from Mandsaur district’s Babulda village, said: “About two years ago, six farmers sacrificed their lives for their rights in Pipliya Mandi. This is the beginning of the victory of their fight.”

“Forms are being filled for waiver of loans up to Rs 2 lakh. We feel that the government is taking our demands seriously,” Chaudhary told IANS.

Mandsaur was the centre of farmers’ agitation in 2017 when six farmers were killed in police firing in June, 2017. After the incident, the farmers’ movement had taken over the whole state, which then spread to the whole nation.

Farmer’s leader Kedar Sirohi said: “Farmers in different parts of the state are excited about the loan waiver. They are filing applications in large numbers.”

“To ensure they don’t face any difficulty in filing applications, leaders and workers of farmer organisations are helping them. Government officials is also alert to help out the farmers. Colour coding of application forms has made it easier for farmers to fill out the applications,” he said.

According to official figures, out of the 19.54 lakh forms filed till Sunday, around 60 per cent were green forms, 35 per cent were white forms and 5 percent were pink forms. The farmers are hopeful of becoming debt-free through this exercise.

As per the scheme, the farmers of the Aadhaar seeded list will have to submit green applications and the farmers of non-Aadhar seeded list will have to submit white coloured applications. Farmers have to submit a pink application to file an objection or claim against information provided in the green or white list.

However, the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had been accusing the Congress of misleading the farmers and terming the scheme a trick to cheat them.

Former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan said the Congress promise of a loan waiver won’t be fulfilled by a mere announcement.

“The Chief Minister (Kamal Nath) and Congress leaders are saying they have fulfilled their promise of loan waiver to the farmers. But the promise has not yet been fulfilled. An announcement does not mean fulfillment of the promise,” he said, adding the Congress was misleading the farmers.

Congress spokesperson Syed Jaffer responded that 55 lakh farmers will get their loans waived of under the scheme, for which the due process needs to be followed.

“No matter what charges the BJP makes, the truth is that farmers are happy and they trust that the Congress is fulfilling the promise that they made to them,” he said.

“Those farmers who are in debt, neither are they now receiving notices from the banks nor is their property being seized. Under BJP rule, farmers had to go to jail and lose their property just for not paying their power bills,” Jaffer told IANS.

Calling the scheme pro-farmer, farmer leader Shiv Kumar Sharma told IANS that political parties were creating doubts about the scheme.

“Farmers were reeling under debt which had increased manifold over the last one-and-a-half decade. Now they are getting waiver of up to Rs 2 lakh. The government is new and one should wait before making adverse comments,” he said.

Kamal Nath had signed the farm loan waiver file soon after taking oath as the Chief Minister. The filing of forms for the waiver started from January 15 and will continue till February 5.

According to the government, farmers will start getting the money in their loan accounts from February 22.

The Chief Minister had said that the scheme would benefit around 55 lakh farmers by waiving their loans worth Rs 50,000 crore.

(Sundeep Pouranik can be contacted at [email protected])

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BJP accuses TMC of vandalising posters ahead of Shah’s rally

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Malda (West Bengal), Jan 22 (IANS) The West Bengal unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday accused the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) workers of vandalising posters and decorative gates ahead of party chief Amit Shah’s rally here.

“Gates, welcome arches, posters, cut-outs, festoons have been vandalised ahead of our national president’s rally. Gates have set on fire. Vehicles carrying our supporters are being stopped in many places,” state BJP President Dilip Ghosh said.

BJP supporters and activists were threatened and harassed so that they could not attend the programme, he alleged.

“Despite all these, our supporters are active and the process of ‘paribartan’ (change) has been started,” he added.

After high drama over denial of permission for facilitating the landing of Shah’s chopper in Malda, the state’s BJP leadership said that they finally received the clearance at two places in the district.

The BJP received permission to land the chopper at the helipads in Golden Park Hotel here and the one used by the Border Security Force in Malda district.

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Himachal Pradesh: 26 injured after tourist bus skids off road in Bilaspur

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Photo Credit- ANI

Himachal Pradesh, Jan 22: At least 26 people were injured after a tourist bus skidded off the road near Swarghat area in Himachal Pradesh’s Bilaspur district on Monday.

The 18 injured people have been shifted to the hospital in Nalaghar in Solan district.

Other 8 people who were seriously injured were shifted to PGIMER at Chandigarh.

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