BENGALURU: The `34,000 crore farm loan waiver announced by Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy in his maiden budget is just minuscule — this is the narrative that BJP is carefully building in the legislative assembly. Dishing out figures to counter the real impact of the crop loan waiver which Kumaraswamy has claimed will help 17.32 lakh farmers, the BJP on Tuesday alleged that none will benefit from it. Armed with figures from the State Level Bankers’ Committee, BJP pegged the total farm debt in the state between 2014 and 2017 at a whopping `2,86, 537.51 crore (`2.86 lakh crore).
Numbers compiled by Govind Karjol were presented by Jagadish Shettar to add ammo to his attack on the government. “Short term crop loans alone, in 2014-2017, stand at `1,35,191.05 crore. Of what help is the minuscule `34,000 crore waiver? Is it really helping anyone at all?” Shettar asked the House. The BJP, led by Shettar, mounted attacks after attacks centering around Kumaraswamy’s budget to paint the JD(S)-Congress government as “anti-North Karnataka”. With the JD(S) and Congress going to the Lok Sabha poll in alliance, BJP is looking to weaken the coalition’s stand in North Karnataka, a region where its direct fight is with Congress.
In its attempt to showcase the Kumaraswamy-led government as biased in favour South Karnataka, BJP leaders highlighted the purported “neglect” the northern districts are facing. “You neglect North Karnataka. You seem to be allergic to the region. You grant funds and allocate work for South Karnataka but when a file from North Karnataka reaches your table, you reject it. You even refuse to implement projects that have already been cleared,” Shettar said even as MLAs of the Congress and JD(S) rejected the allegations.
Priyank Kharge and Bheema Naik of Congress, Shivalingegowda of JD(S) and Shettar and Arvind Limbavali of BJP engaged in an argument over Article 371(J) for Hyderabad-Karnataka region accusing each other of scuttling grant of special status to the region. Defending his government, JD(S) MLA from Arasikere K M Shivalingegowda claimed that Kumaraswamy had limitations to work within. Rejecting the BJP’s claims that the government did not care enough for North Karnataka, Gowda gave an “intended breakup” of the proposed farm loan waiver to send across a point that North Karnataka had more to gain out of it.
“Of the total waiver, Belagavi division will get `9,501 crore, Kalaburagi region `5,563 crore, Bengaluru region will get `7,454 crore while Mysuru region will get `6,760 crore. North Karnataka stands to benefit more,” Gowda said rebutting BJP’s numbers game with more numbers. The BJP has categorically asked the Chief Minister to place before the House the ways through which he intends to raise the funds to implement the farm loan waiver.