Hyderabad, Apr 20 (UNI) Andhra Pradesh Agriculture Minister N Raghuveera Reddy today appealed to senior BJP Leader L K Advani not to delay the special package for peasants, being evolved by the Centre, by pressing for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into farmers' suicides in different parts of the country.
''It is a historical fact that when the NDA at the Centre and the TDP in Andhra Pradesh were in power, the unpleasant trend (suicides) started and Mr Advani did not think of a JPC then,'' he said at a press conference here.
The incidence of suicides had drastically come down in the state after the Congress assumed power, Mr Reddy claimed.
The special package, which according to Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, was in 'advanced stage of preparation' and it will not be proper for Mr Advani to delay it by demanding the probe.
Even reports submitted by two Commissions, including the one headed by Jawaharlal Nehru University Professor Jyati Ghosh, had suggested the need for a special package for peasants.
The BJP's then ally TDP had suppressed the suicide cases in the state by not registering even first information report (FIR) or conducting ''autopsy.
The Congress, which had arranged for distribution of assistance by Party President Sonia Gandhi to families of 90 farmers when it was in the Opposition, could not provide an ex-gratia of Rs 1.50 lakh to all such families after coming to power.
Only families of over 1,400 of the more than 4,000 deceased farmers could be provided ex-gratia for want of evidence, he claimed.
UNI SM MA RAI1947