Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Gopal Shetty courted controversy, on 18 February, when he dismissed the alarming number of farmer suicide in Maharashtra, calling them a "trend".
A video from Times Now shows Shetty, a BJP MP from North Mumbai, saying: "There are many reasons for farmers committing suicide. All farmers suicides are not because of hunger and unemployment. This has become a fashion and a trend. If Maharashtra government is giving Rs 5 lakh, another government is giving Rs 7 lakh, Rs 8 lakh. There is a competition going on to give more compensation to the farmers".
According to official estimates, 124 farmers in Maharashtra have committed suicide since January this year. The Bombay High Court is hearing a suo moto public interest litigation urging to take steps on a war-footing to prevent farmers from committing suicide.
Social media users have slammed Shetty for his comments.
@TimesNow आये गे आँचें दिन , ज़रा सबर तो केरो कहते कहते ५ साल ख़त्म हो जाएँगे 🙏🙏🙏🙏 ग़रीबी नहीं ग़रीब हटाओ 🍌- Bali Israr (@brokenu2) February 18, 2016