Malout (Punjab): Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday that the Congress and its allies were losing sleep as his government was taking many initiatives to improve the status of farmers across the country.
Addressing a rally of farmers and farm labourers in this south-western town of Punjab, Modi said: "The Congress is losing sleep over farmers getting their dues from our government. Congress sat on all demands of farmers for years. They (Congress and its allies) are unable to comprehend what is happening now. They cannot accept the fact that the farmers of this country will get good sleep now."
Farmers from Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan participated in the rally in the town, which lies close to the border of the three states.
"Our government is trying to restore the respect given to farmers and soldiers. We have increased the farmers' income by 1.5 times. We will try to double it by 2022," the Prime Minister said.
The PM referred to the recent hike in the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of kharif crops and said the hike ranged from Rs 200 to Rs 1,800 per quintal for various crops. He blamed the Congress rule for the misery of farmers in the country, saying the Congress governments were working only for the benefit of one family.
"Congress has always cheated farmers. Farmers have suffered for many decades as the party that ruled the country for most part of the past 70 years did nothing for them. The Congress has tried to appease only one family," Modi said.
The PM listed his government's various initiatives such as crop insurance, soil health cards, hike in MSP, availability of urea and other farming inputs, ensuring availability of seeds and providing marketing facilities for selling produce. "We are giving importance to organic, dairy and fish farming to increase farmers' income. We have made a provision to curb stubble burning. I appeal to all farmers not to burn the crop residue," Modi said.
Earlier, farmers associated with various organisations held a protest and showed black flags as the PM arrived for the rally. Punjab Police and security agencies detained a few protesters and stopped the others at a distance from the rally venue.
Tight security arrangements were made for the "thanksgiving rally" organised by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to mark the "biggest MSP hike in paddy" announced last week. SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal has termed the hike "unprecedented".