CM Devendra Fadnavis
The impasse in the Maharashtra legislature continued yesterday, as CM Devendra Fadnavis hit back at the Opposition's demands for a waiver of farmer loans, countering with the question: "Will you guarantee that there will be no farmer suicides after the loan waiver?"
Fadnavis said his government was opposed to extending benefit to the banks (which are controlled by Congress and NCP) instead of directly helping farmers in distress. He placed the blame for the agrarian crisis on wrong policies of the previous regime, and said that even after a loan waiver, more than 16,000 farmers had taken their lives in the past five years.
Both houses were stalled in the first session itself, with the Opposition deciding to not let the proceedings go on even on Friday and Saturday - the day the annual budget would be presented. The CM made his statement even as the opposition benches interrupted him.
Insisting that the BJP government wasn't against a loan waiver, Fadnavis said that he had been making serious efforts and had invested Rs 30,500 crore - equivalent to the amount needed for a loan waiver - to make farming sustainable. He said loan waivers would deny farmers credit from banks, and his government wanted to make farmers self-reliant instead.
CM appeases Sena
Although Shiv Sena also held the Opposition's view on the loan waiver, Fadnavis nevertheless extended a nod to the party while slamming Congress-NCP. He said only the Sena and BJP had the right to seek relief for farmers because they had good intentions and did not wish to bail the banks out.