With the farmers' agitations spreading across many states, senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram on Sunday said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) reneged on its promise by denying the farmers a reasonable increase in the minimum support price (MSP).
"Agriculture, despite its declining share in the total output (GDP), is the largest employer. In its manifesto and in the election campaign, the BJP had unequivocally promised that it would implement the M.S. Swaminathan Committee's recommendation that MSP should be cost plus 50 percent. The BJP not only reneged on its promise, it dealt a body blow to farmers by denying them even a reasonable increase in the MSP in its first three years," Chidambaram said.
He added that the agriculture portfolio is the "Cinderella of this government."
"Unfortunately, the NDA government lost sight of this basic truth. Young men can find no work on farms or off farms as micro, small and medium businesses are not offering new jobs," he asserted.
Chidambaram further said that two years of drought in many states was the main cause and the governments cannot be blamed for the occurrence of drought, but governments are solely responsible for the mismanagement of the consequences of drought.
Chidambaram's tweets come in the wake of the widespread protests by farmers across India over their issues including the right price of the produce.
Madhya Pradesh's Mandsaur has become the epicentre of farmers' agitation over a demand for loan waivers and better prices for their produce.
During an agitation, six farmers were gunned down by the police, thereby drawing criticism from political parties. The situation forced the district officials to impose Section 144, and restricted prominent personalities from visiting the violence-hit district.
A number of political leaders, including Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, and social activists, tried to visit Mandsaur but the police didn't let them enter the area.
Section 144 was later revoked ahead of CM Chouhan's visit to the families of the deceased farmers.