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Sonia Asks BJP To Follow ‘Rajdharma’, Protect Farmers’ Interest

New Delhi: Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Saturday asked the BJP government in the centre to follow its “rajdharma” and protect farmers’ interest who, she said, were being forced to sell their produce in various ‘mandis’ at a price 22.5 percent lower than the MSP and are heading to suffer a loss of Rs 50,000 crore.

In a statement, the Congress chief said the farmers are suffering a double whammy as their produce is being sold much lower than the cost price, while the input costs have risen significantly.

“The manner in which the crops are being sold at an average of 22.5 per cent less than the MSP in various mandis of the country, farmers will suffer a loss of Rs 50,000 crore. How will they be compensated?” she asked in her statement.

“The Congress demands that this double exploitation of the country’s farmer should be stopped and they get adequate cost for his hard work and labour. This would be the government’s real ‘rajdharma’,” the Congress chief said.

She accused the BJP government of reneging on their promise of providing 50 per cent plus the minimum support prices to farmers on their produce.

“The BJP government kept benefitting a handful of middlemen and hoarders, who have looted Indian farmers for years.

“The question is why the farmers are being forced to observe a ‘Black Diwali’ on the eve of the festival. Today, the kharif produce is being sold at 8 to 37 per cent less than its cost. This means the Kharif crops are being sold at an average of 22.5 per cent less than the MSP,” she said.

Gandhi said the BJP government has created more worries for farmers by fixing the MSP of Rabi crops in 2020-21 at only 4 to 7 per cent higher than the last year.

“On the one hand, the BJP government has put fertilizers, tractor parts and pesticides in 4, 12 and 18 per cent GST bracket, and have unnecessarily burdened the farmers through price rise and on the other, they (farmers) are getting diesel at higher prices due to its rising cost,” Gandhi said.

“Resultantly, the farmers are neither getting the cost of their produce nor the right price. The country’s farmers are suffering a double whammy,” she said.

“Why are the farmers not getting remunerative prices for their produce of Kharif crops like Toor, Udhad, Moong, Soyabean, Sunflower, Jawar, Bajra and Ragi? What is their fault? The farmers are getting Rs 200 less than the minimum support price of Rs 1,835 per quintal. Why so?” asked Gandhi.

She said a total of 140.57 million tonnes of Kharif production is expected in 2019-20.

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