NEW DELHI: Concerned that the BJP will derive political mileage from the MSP hike, the Congress has planned to expose the centre's move through nationwide pressers.
Sources said over the next few days Congress managers are planning to deploy senior leaders who are well versed with the farmers' issues and explain the shortcomings in the MSP hike in major state capitals like Lucknow, Bhopal, Raipur, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Dehradun, Nagpur and Patna. Sources said the counter move is being planned to take the Congress message beyond the national capital, so that people in the states are also made aware of how the MSP announcement falls short of what was promised by PM Modi in 2014.
Congress managers have estimated the BJP will hard sell the decision as pro-farmer in the five assembly states Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan which will go to polls later this year and the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
"The BJP's publicity machinery is already on the roll but we need to do our bit by showing people the other side of the story," said a senior AICC functionary.
As part of the plan, Congress communications chief Randeep Surjewala, former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot, former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and a few others would be deployed to counter the centre's claims over the MSP hike. The Congress research department has prepared a dossier to showcase how the government had allegedly tried to hoodwink the farmers without thinking through the policy decision.
Besides the faulty calculation of the proposed MSP hike and not factoring in the GST on various farm equipment, the paper points out how food grain exports had fallen while imports shot up in the past four years and inadequate compensation was paid to the farmers under a crop insurance scheme launched for them.