MUMBAI: The Congress has demanded a judicial probe into what the Devendra Fadnavis has called a small goof-up in the implementation of its loan waiver scheme.
“The entire thing is fishy. Initially it was said 89 lakh farmers in the state would benefit from the loan waiver. Then it was said that many farmers have bogus accounts. Then the final figure of beneficiaries was declared to be 67 lakh. Now the government needs to explain where the 22 lakh farmers have gone," former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said on Thursday.
Congress leaders in Maharashtra met at the official residence of the leader of the opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil to decide on a strategy to corner the Fadnavis government on the issue.
Chavan accused the government of not being serious about implementing the loan waiver. "Initially they said the loan waiver package would amount to Rs 34,000 crore. Provision was made only for Rs 20,000 crore. Then it was said that only Rs 4,000 crore was released towards the scheme. But then it came to light that the government has asked banks to write off farmers' loans with the promise that the government would reimburse banks later," Chavan said.
He added, "A scam from Solapur came to light sometime back. There farm loans were taken from nationalised banks in the name of farmers and were invested in credit societies at higher interest rates. Discrepancies in the number of beneficiaries and the goof up in implementation indicate that there is a scam here."
He said, "If government is innocent, then they should sack the officials responsible for the mess and order a judicial probe.”
State Congress chief Ashok Chavan announced the launch of an agitation titled Janaakrosh Aandolan against the state government.
"Starting with the death anniversary of Indira Gandhi on October 31 to the anniversary of demonetization on November 8 we will conduct rallies across the state as part of Janaakrosh Aandolan to create awareness about the wrong economic policies of the central as well as state governments," Chavan said.
"The government's performance in the last three years has been disappointing. There is tremendous resentment among people and we will voice their resentment through this agitation," he added.