Race on in state to take credit for farmer's loan waiver

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Mumbai, Mar 1 (UNI) Political parties are vying with each other in Maharashtra to snare publicity on the waiver of farmer loans to the tune of Rs 60,000 crore, declared by Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram in the Budget for 2008-09.

Leaders of the ruling Congress, its alliance partner Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and their political rivals Shiv Sena and Bhartiya Janata Party have started heaping praises on their leaders for 'ensuring' help to the distressed farmers in the state, specially from Vidarbha region, to tide over the worst-ever agrarian crisis that resulted in suicides of hundreds of farmers in the last few years.

Full page colour advertisements released by the Nationalist Congress Party, headed by the Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and today's edition of various newspapers hailed the announcement as 'Vachanpurti''- a pledge fullfilled.

Thanking to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government at the Centre for this 'historic' announcement, the NCP, coalition partner in the ruling Democtratic Front(DF) in the state since 1991, has described it as ' Sharad Poonam'(full moon) for the farmers.

The advertisements dwelt at length how the party had actively advocated such a loan waiver for the farmers. It also recalled that Mr Pawar was the first Chief Minister of Maharashtra who announced such a waiver in the state in 1978.

Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, while thanking Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson and Congress President Sonia Gandhi for their 'historic' decision said ''unlike others who have gone out of the way to take credit for the loan waiver, we do not want to engage into such acts because people know as to who is actually responsible for the decision''. People also know that the Congress was making a strong case for waiving of loans, he hastened to add.

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