BHOPAL/JAIPUR/RAIPUR: The Congress chief ministers in three heartland states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh took oath amid much fanfare on Monday in the presence of party president Rahul Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh and a host of opposition leaders.
In Jaipur, Ashok Gehot and Sachin Pilot were sworn-in as Chief Minister and Deputy CM, respectively, by Governor Kalyan Singh while Kamal Nath took oath in Bhopal in the shadow of protests against his alleged role in the anti-Sikh riots, in which his party colleague Sajjan Kumar was sentenced to life imprisonment on Monday.
Later in the evening, Bhupesh Baghel was sworn-in as Chhattisgarh CM in Raipur while senior leaders T S Singh Deo and Tamradhwaj Sahu were sworn-in as ministers by Governor Anandiben Patel.
The much-awaited decision on farm loan waiver promised by the Congress in Madhya Pradesh was taken within two hours of state Congress chief Kamal Nath being sworn-in as new chief minister.
In a bid to showcase opposition unity, Rahul was accompanied by leaders of many other opposition parties at all the three ceremonies.
In Bhopal, after the oath taking ceremony was over, Nath went straight to inaugurate the new state secretariat building and assumed charge. He subsequently chaired a meeting of top bureaucrats, where he signed files pertaining to four important decisions.
“The first file I signed on pertained to fulfilling our poll promise of waiving off loans up to Rs 2 lakh that have been taken by farmers of the state from the government and cooperative banks. When we waived off agricultural loans during the previous UPA regime, it covered only defaulter farmers. But our present decision in MP will cover all defaulter and current farmers,” Nath later said.
The decision will cover all short-term farm loans up to Rs 2 lakh taken from nationalised and cooperative banks.
“As 80% of agricultural loans are taken from government banks, I want to tell these banks that when they waive off loans of industrialists, they have no problem. But when it comes to waiving off the farmers’ loan, they start feeling the pain. The economists who give lectures against loan waiver for farmers have hardly any knowledge of realities of farmers,” said Nath.
Rahul tweeted, “CM, Madhya Pradesh, waives farm loans. I done, 2 to go.” He indicated that the governments in Raipur and Jaipur would follow suit.