NEW DELHI: Union minister Venkaiah Naidu’s statement that ‘loan waiver has become fashion now’ drew sharp reactions from Opposition on Thursday.
Naidu was speaking in Maharashtra, where the state government led by his party BJP has been petitioned by farmers to write-off their loans.
“Loan waiver has become fashion now. It should be waived but in extreme situations only. It's not a final solution. You have to take care of systems. The farmers should be taken care in distress,” Naidu said at India's largest municipal bond programme in Maharashtra.
The union minister, however, later clarified his stance, while saying that he was misquoted and he was referring to the approach of the political parties who are not focussing on long term, but only short term problems.
“My statement was in a context that the political parties instead of addressing long term issues and bringing in structural policy changes are adopting short term methods which have become the fashion…I was referring to the approach of the political parties particularly of going to the level of populist schemes like giving grinders, mixies, and lollipops to children,” Naidu said.
Earlier after the statement, Opposition parties and ally in the state Shiv Sena termed the union minister's statement “shameful and unfortunate.” Moreover, opposition leaders like the Left's Sitaram Yechury and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal of the Aam Aadmi Party also reacted on this.
“Tomorrow, he will say farmer suicides are fashionable,” said Yechury, accusing the ruling BJP at the centre of not keeping its election promise to farmers on a minimum support price for their crops that would be one and a half times more than the production cost.
"When you waive loans of the rich then you don't find it to be a 'fashion'. But the same becomes a fashion when you do it for the poor?" said Arvind Kejriwal.
Many state governments including the BJP governments in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh and Congress governments in Punjab and Karnataka have recently announced farm loan waivers.