As protests by farmers in Maharashtra entered its second day today, hitting supply of essential food items and vegetables across the state, Congress today slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying he could take time out of his schedule to meet Bollywood actor Priyanka Chopra, but had no time to meet farmers.
"It is unfortunate that Modi ji has time to meet Priyanka Chopra, but not our farmers. His Chief Minister in Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis ji is behaving like Yamraj (god of death)," Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee secretary Shehzad Poonawalla in a statement issued here.
Poonawalla was referring to the Bollywood actress’s meeting with the PM in Berlin where he was visiting as part of his four-nation tour. On May 30, Modi had taken some time out to meet actor Priyanka Chopra.
"Congress supports the demands of the farmers. If loan waiver can be given in UP why not in Maharashtra?" Poonawalla said, adding that out of a total 1.36 crore farmers in Maharashtra, 31 lakh with a cumulative debt of Rs 30,500 crore are not eligible for bank loans.
Poonawalla said that farmers' strike will affect the whole nation along with the people of Maharashtra and hence Modi and Fadnavis should show seriousness towards their demands.
"Even the Shiv Sena is with the opposition on this issue. While the Sena is backing this anti-farmer government on the one hand, it is playing role of opposition on the other. We request the Sena not to be party to such anti-farmer policies of the Fadnavis government for the sake of power," he said.
The Congress leader said that if the BJP-led government at the Centre and in the state continue to ignore the "legitimate" demands of farmers there will be a nationwide crisis.
"Modi ji had made several promises, including the promise to raise the minimum support price (MSP) by 50 per cent. They have not delivered anything except jumlas," he said.
"It is time for real steps to improve the condition of farmers, which is worsening under the Fadnavis rule. Mere cosmetic steps like Krishi Bima Yojna will not suffice," Poonawalla said.
(With PTI inputs)