Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy said on Sunday, May 27, he was at the mercy of Congress and not to the people of Karnataka as his government did not receive the full mandate. The JD(S) leader added that he would step down from his post if the farm loan waiver promise is not fulfilled.
While speaking on the loan waiver issue, he said: "I am not at the mercy of the 6.5 crore population of the State, but obligated to the Congress. There is no need for anyone to ask me to resign if farm loan is not waived. I will not stick to the chair. A decision on the waiver will be taken after the formation of the Cabinet," Press Trust of India reported.
Kumaraswamy had asked for a week's time to solve the farmer loan waiver issue and said that he became the chief minister for the welfare of the farmers. During the election period, the JD(S) leader had promised to waive farm loans worth Rs 53,000 crore, including those borrowed from nationalized banks.
Meanwhile, the JD(S) leader also slammed the BJP government for pressuring him on the farm loan waiver issue. "I am one step ahead of you to work for the farmers. Farm loan waiver is my priority. Can't you wait for a week? Even the cabinet has not been formed yet," Kumaraswamy told PTI.
During the high-octane election battle between the three major parties, JD(S) had promised to waive farmer loans within 24 hours of forming the government, according to the manifesto. They had also said that the loan waiver would include crop, horticulture loans, and medium-term loans. The party had even promised to provide the farmers with free seeds and fertilizers.
The chief minister has appealed to the farmers and asked them not to take any extreme step. According to a Hindu report, more than 3,500 farmers had committed suicide between April 2013 and November 2017 as many of them took their own life due to drought or crop failure.
On the other hand, while attacking the coalition government, Karnataka BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa had called for a bandh to be observed on May 28 if the chief minister did not keep up with his promise on the issue. Yeddyurappa demanded that the farm loans worth Rs 53,000 crores be waived off immediately. However, the state-wide bandh was met with a dull response as schools, colleges and other offices functioned like any regular Monday.
Former chief minister and Congress leader Siddaramaiah had earlier waived farm loans up to Rs 8,167 crore that reportedly benefitted 22,27,506 farmers across the state. Siddaramaiah even announced farm loan waiver for short-term loans up to Rs. 50,000 that were applicable only to cooperative banks loans, ANI reported. He had, however, not waived loans from nationalized banks as he believed that it could have major ramifications if it was not supported by the Centre.