Nagpur, Nov 3 (UNI) Senior Shiv Sena leader and Rajya Sabha member Manohar Joshi has demanded that Union Minister for Agriculture Sharad Pawar and Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh apologise for their alleged 'failure' in curbing the large number of suicides by debt-ridden farmers, especially in Vidarbha region of the state.
Speaking to reporters here, Mr Joshi condemned what he described as the failure of the Union and the state governments in curbing the suicides by farmers. Contrary to the state government's claims, the suicides were continuing unabated, he said.
The problem had aggravated because of the 'insensitivity' of those in power, he said. ''I have never seen such a casual attitude from someone at the helm of affairs in the state,'' Mr Joshi, himself a former chief minister, said.
Replying to questions, Mr Joshi said the government must give a one-time total waiver of all outstanding loans of farmers irrespective of the financial burden that it would put on the exchequer.
''The life of the farmer, who gives us our daily bread, is more valuable than any amount of money. The government must not think of the cost,'' he said, adding that after granting a one-time waiver, the government must initiate concrete and effective steps to improve the financial condition of the farmers.
The former Lok Sabha speaker said the issue of supporting Mr Pawar for the post of Prime Minister was now 'on the backburner.' ''Mr Pawar himself knows how difficult the task is - it cannot be done with a handful of members in the Lok Sabha'', he said.
It would be immaterial even if the Shiv Sena supported him,'' Mr Joshi added.