While senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi projects himself as a pro-farmer leader, championing their cause and making promises of farm loan waiver, his party seldom honours commitments made by him. After Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, the farmers in Congress-ruled Rajasthan, too, have realised that Rahul Gandhi’s promises of instant loan waiver were nothing but empty poll rhetorics as they have started receiving attachment notices for the payment of their loans.
Before the Rajasthan Assembly elections, Rahul Gandhi had announced a farm loan waiver within 10 days of coming to power. However, despite being in the government for over two years, the farmers in the state are still waiting for the Congress government to fulfil their leader’s promise.
A report by Aaj Tak mentioned Ramgopal Jat, a farmer in the Jaipur district, who took a loan for Rs 3.5 lakhs and Rs 6 lakhs about 5 years ago. He has so far paid an interest of over Rs 6 lakhs to his bank. Yet, he received an attachment notice from his bank, asking him to pay Rs 13,07,756. Ramgopal laments he doesn’t have money to repay the loan and his bank has refused to grant him any further extension.
Similar is the predicament of hundreds of other farmers in Rajasthan who were hoping to get their loans waived off after Congress formed government in the state but were left disappointed after the party washed off its hands from the promises made by its foremost leader. The Ashok Gehlot government in the state has not even spared an 80-year-old Gangaram, who received an attachment notice for his loan of Rs 8 lakhs that has now swelled to Rs 14 lakhs in the last 5 years at 14 per cent interest.
In the run-up to the 2018 assembly elections, Rahul Gandhi and other Congress leaders repeatedly trotted out their commitment of forgoing farm loans once their party formed the government in the state. Shortly after coming to power in Rajasthan, the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government waived off loans to small and marginal farmers who had sought loans only from the Bhoomi Vikas Bank and Co-operative Banks but left other farmers to fend for themselves.
About 95 per cent of the farmers in Rajasthan took loans from government and private banks, but they were not considered for the loan waiver. Uday Lal Anjana, the Minister of Co-operation in Rajasthan, turned his back on the promise of granting loan waivers to farmers in the state. He said his government never promised to grant loan waivers to all the farmers in the state. The Aaj Tak report says that farmers in Rajasthan owe a staggering debt of Rs 1,20,979 crores to banks. As a result, the Congress government has lamented that it has no money in its treasury to waive off loans of every farmer in the state.
Congress modus operandi of exploiting farmers with false promises to gain votes
This is the modus operandi witnessed in many Congress-ruled states where Rahul Gandhi promises to waive off loans to lure farmers into voting for his party. When the Congress government is formed in the state, it bails on its commitments saying it never made any promise of loan waivers and its treasury to not fat enough to dole out waivers to each and every farmer in the state.
In February 2020, the then chief minister Kamal Nath admitted to the Madhya Pradesh Congress government’s failure in delivering the tall promises of farm loan waiver made by their supremo Rahul Gandhi during the Assembly elections campaign in 2018. Govind Singh, the General Administration Minister in Kamal Nath’s cabinet apologised while speaking at a government function.
A year before Kamal Nath’s admission, Congress minister Digvijay Singh’s younger brother Lakshman Singh had also conceded that Rahul Gandhi’s fraud promises of farm-loan waivers were nothing but a mere gimmick to con poor farmers to vote for Congress in Madhya Pradesh. The Congress loyalist had then capitulated that it was a mistake on Rahul Gandhi’s part to promise a complete loan waiver within 10 days if voted to power.