NEW DELHI: The Congress managers felt the government's move to hike MSP of Kharif crops was a desperate attempt to placate the agitating farmers and saw it as a hint that the 2019 national polls may be advanced by a few months.
"This is a move to please the farmers which they knew were unhappy with the BJP. The centre will try to derive political mileage from the misleading announcement by advancing the Lok Sabha polls to February next year," said a Congress insider.
The 2019 national polls are likely to be held April-May but the Congress strategists felt that while advancing them the centre may also want to push the assembly polls in five states, likely to be held by year end, to coincide with the national polls.
Congress communications chief Randeep Surjewala said the MSP hike was misleading as it was less than the promised input cost plus 50 percent by PM Modi in 2014.
"They delayed it by four years and the hike will be implemented only by the next government in 2019 by when Modi will not be PM," Surjewala said.
"The Congress led-government will come to power at the centre and correct the situation," he said. To back his claim, the Congress leader pointed out that the previous UPA 2 government from 2009 to 2014 paid more MSP to the farmers than what the Modi regime did in the past four years.
"The proof of the pudding lies in eating. The farmers will be happy only when they receive the benefits actually," said Surjewala. He further said the MSP hike announced was based on the Commission for Agricultural Cost and Prices report of 2017-18 and not on the 2018-19 report which was yet to be made public.
"The input cost of farming would have risen in the past one year. Why did the government not factor the latest report," said Surjewala. Noting that the MSP hike was far from what was promised, Surjewala said the government did not factor in the increased cost of various farm machinery due to GST.