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Uphill task for Deshmukh at CMs’ conclave
Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 21
Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh will have a lot of explaining to do at the seventh Congress CMs’ conclave being held in Nainital this week-end given his state’s poor track record on the agriculture and internal security fronts, the two issues on the agenda of the upcoming meeting.

In contrast, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Rajshekara Reddy’s successful efforts in handling the agrarian crisis in his state could well be held as an example for emulation by the other state heads although his handling of the Naxal violence is likely to come under the scanner.

Agriculture and internal security have been deliberately picked by Congress president Sonia Gandhi as the two key subjects for discussion at the conclave of party chief ministers.

Faced with Assembly polls in the four states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Punjab and Manipur early next year and mid-way through the UPA government’s term at the Centre, it became necessary for the party bosses to take a close hard look at the status of the agriculture sector in the various Congress states, their achievements, the problems they face and the remedial measures which need to be undertaken.

Mr Deshmukh, who will present a report card to the party leadership along with his other colleagues, will focus on the implementation of the special package announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the crisis-ridden Vidharbha region.

The Chief Minister and Mrs Margaret Alva, AICC in charge of Maharashtra, who have prepared elaborate presentations, are likely to make a strong pitch for waiving off farmers’ loans as opposed to rescheduling of their outstanding dues as announced by the Prime Minister as this concession had failed to provide any relief to the indebted farmer since banks were only adjusting old loans against fresh ones.

Blaming the tardy implementation of the PM’s package on the slow official machinery, the two leaders will ask the Centre to set up a special cell so that the implementation of the farmers’ package can be fast-tracked.



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