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Vajpayee woos farmers
Promises second green revolution in country
Raman Mohan
Tribune News Service

A young woman raises slogans at an election rally
A young woman raises slogans at an election rally of the BJP addressed by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in Jhajjar, on Sunday. — PTI photo

Jhajjar, May 2
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee today sought peoples’ mandate for the formation of a farmer friendly BJP-led government at the Centre.

Addressing an election rally here, Mr Vajpayee said the farming community should elect a government that would work for their welfare and the BJP deserved their votes on this count.

Leaving behind the stability plank for a change, the Prime Minister devoted most of his speech to farmers’ issues and promised to usher in the second green revolution in the country. He said food production needed to be doubled to meet the future requirements in view of increasing population and added that providing food security was his government’s first priority.

He said the BJP and the Congress differed in their perception and working. While the Congress thought its task finished after the Independence of the country, the BJP wanted to solve all problems facing the country in general and the farming community in particular.

He said his government planned to make the farmers financially sound enough to be able to repay their loans. Referring to the late Devi Lal’s loan waiver scheme, he said he did not believe in such populist measures. The solution to farmers’ woes lay in making their profession lucrative, he added. He said the interest rate on farming loans would be gradually brought down to 5 per cent. Mr Vajpayee said water was a national asset and when his government’s scheme for linking all major rivers in the country was fully implemented every farmer would have ample supply of water. While asking the audience to raise their hands if they supported his view on the issue he said “even Jhajjar will not face water scarcity after that”. The audience responded positively by raising their hands.

Listing various measures his government had taken to improve agriculture in the country, he said the NDA government had upwardly revised the minimum support prices of 25 important crops. Besides, Rs 2000 crore had been paid to the farmers under the crop insurance scheme. He also claimed credit for setting up a corpus for improving agricultural infrastructure in the country and appointing a commission for farmers.

He refrained from making any reference to the Indian National Lok Dal government or Chief Minister Om Parkash Chautala. However, he lashed out at the Congress saying the BJP-led government at the Centre brought stability to the country’s polity after the Congress kept bringing down different governments from time to time creating political chaos.

Mr Vajpayee said the Congress was on a losing trail and having lost recently in Rajasthan, Chhatisgarh and Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections it was bound to lose in Haryana as also in the rest of the country.

He said the voters should exercise their franchise carefully as they had to decide the kind of government they wanted installed at the Centre.

The meeting was presided over by bureaucrat turned politician Kirpa Ram Poonia who quit the Congress yesterday and joined the BJP. Four BJP nominees were present at the dais. They were: Mr Kishan Singh Sangwan (Sonepat), Ms Sudha Yadav (Mahendragarh), Capt Abhimanyu Singh (Rohtak) and Mr Ram Bilas Sharma (Bhiwani).

The turn out at the rally led to traffic jams on all major highways linking Jhajjar to nearby places.

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