India: Karnataka: BJP vows farm loan waivers if voted into power

  • Taking a leaf out of its Uttar Pradesh state election manifesto, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Karnataka on 4 May 18 said it would waive farm loans of up to INR100,000 each, taken from various institutions including nationalized banks.
  • The party continued its focus on the farming community, not just to earn the backing of one of the biggest support bases ahead of assembly elections on 12 May 18 but to also reinforce the image of its chief ministerial candidate B.S. Yeddyurappa as a pro-farmer leader.
  • The BJP’s decision to promise farm loan waivers was aimed at taking the wind out of the Congress’ INR81.7bn farm loan waiver in 2017 and other assurances that the ruling party made in its manifesto.
  • Karnataka has turned into a fierce contest with the entire central leadership of the two national parties hoping to win the support of key communities, including farmers, who account for over 60% of the state’s total population.
  • The Congress criticized the BJP’s promise of a farm loan waiver, following the BJP-led central government’s refusal to entertain the Congress-led Karnataka government’s request to waive farm loans taken from nationalized banks. The Congress had used this refusal to target the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Union government as “anti-farmer”.
  • The BJP’s promise is significant as the Uttar Pradesh government had waived farm loans worth more than INR360bn after it came to power in the state in 2017.
  • The BJP manifesto also announced a Negilayogi Yojane to provide direct income support of INR10,000 each to 2 million dry land and marginal farmers.
  • The other highlights include a ban on cow slaughter, financial assistance of up to INR200,000 for women self-help groups, free sanitary napkins for poor girls and free laptops for students.

External Link :