NEW DELHI: The Congress hit back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, calling his claims "white lies", after he slammed the Opposition party for ignoring the farmers.
Noting there were no farmers at the PM’s rally in Malout in Punjab, Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi called it an "epic flop".
She alleged that the PM in his speech came up with a whole "set of lies" and "jumlas" (rhetoric) to mislead the farmers and the country. “The recent MSP (minimum support price) hike did not factor in the latest CACP (Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices) report that the government got released quietly after it patted itself on the back,” Chaturvedi said. “If take into account the CACP data, the promise of MSP plus 50 per cent is far from the truth.”
"Will Modiji tell the farmers of India that for the first time ever in India's independent history his government has taxed agriculture through GST?" she asked.
Terming Modi's arguments as "an encounter with truth", the Congress leader said the soil health cards were started in 2009 under UPA and 5 crore such cards were distributed by 2012 itself.
As to the PM's claim that 9,000 testing centers had been approved by his government, she said "the truth is that the Congress established not 40-50 soil testing labs, as claimed by the PM, but 1141 soil testing labs".
Taking on the PM over the issue of Neem-coated urea, she said it was an initiative of the UPA government in 2011. On the Fasal Bima Yojana, the Congress leader said it had only benefitted private insurance companies instead of the farmers.
“Had the PM announced the MSP hike in 2014, the farmers would have benefited by now from `2 lakh crore. But he waited till the election year and then came up with a misleading policy,” alleged Chaturvedi.
She said the per litre price of diesel, which is widely used by the farmers, stood at `67.86 today whereas it was `56.71 on May 16, 2014. The prices of fertilizers had increased by 24 per cent in the past six months, she pointed out.