Chennai, Mar 7 (UNI) Describing the Rs 60,000 crore farm loan waiver in the budget 2008-09 as a ''half baked'' measure, senior BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu today announced that the party would hold a nationwide stir demanding writing off of loans to all sections of farmers, irrespective of the extent of their land holding.
Addressing a press conference here, he also charged that the Congress - led UPA government's efforts to befriend the farmers was borne out of fear of losing the forthcoming elections to Lok Sabha.
''This is proved by the fact that since 2004, the Congress had lost in five states to BJP and could win only in Goa'', he claimed.
He also strongly criticised as ''irresponsible'' Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's statement that his government was only clearing the bills left behind by the BJP led NDA government. There was no provision in the budget for such waiver, he charged.
He also claimed that it was the BJP led NDA which had really cared for farmers chalking out beneficial schemes for them like bringing down the interest on loans from banks, linking of rivers scheme and export of food grains to help them when the prices fell sharply.
''What is required is loan waiver to all categories of farmers and not just for small and marginal peasants'', he pointed out and added only 28 per cent of the loans were taken from banks.
The rest were those given by private lenders.
The Congress was now trying to hold the hand of farmers while during all its tenures in the government at the Centre, it had only been mouthing their cause but was really catering only to the rich, Mr Naidu alleged.
Successive Congress governments were responsible for the present ''distress'' of farmers as they had ignored the agriculture sector, he charged.
UNI VV DS SHB RK1928