KOLKATA: Farmer deaths were an old problem and the Narendra Modi government had taken many steps to alleviate the difficulties of the cultivators, Union minister Suresh Prabhu said today.
Addressing a press conference at the West Bengal BJP headquarters here, he said the Modi government had taken several farmer-friendly measures, including increasing the minimum support price for their produce, giving them relief from agricultural debt and announcing a crop-insurance scheme.
"The occurrence of farmer deaths is a fact, but one must understand that it is an old problem persisting for years. Modi has done much more for the farmers in his four years as prime minister than what was done for them in the last 70 years," the Union commerce and civil aviation minister said.
He added that crop failures due to drought or floods had led to incidents of farmer suicide in certain parts of the country when the monsoon failed or there was a deluge.
Claiming that Modi was the most popular among the democratically-elected prime ministers of the world, the BJP leader said, "Sixty-nine per cent of the people are happy with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
You will not be able to find another democratically-elected head of a country as popular in the fifth year of his tenure.
" He also claimed that there was no one in the country to challenge the popularity of Modi.
Asked whether the BJP was putting its full force in West Bengal with a stream of visits by party president Amit Shah, Union ministers and the upcoming public meeting of Modi at Midnapore on July 16, Prabhu said the state unit of the saffron party was quite strong and did not require any extra fillip.
"It is only because the Centre gives Bengal its due importance that many Union ministers are visiting the state, unlike during the (days of the) previous governments when hardly anyone came," he said.
Shah had, at a recent public rally in Purulia, said the BJP was in power in 21 states and its next target was to wrest West Bengal from the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress.
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