Amid speculations that the Narendra Modi government could announce a major relief plan for farmers ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, former Union Minister and Congress veteran P. Chidambaram on Thursday asked how the government will fund the new plan.
On a day when Modi accused the Congress of "deceiving farmers" with promises of loan waivers, Chidambaram took to Twitter to ridicule the Prime Minister's mega relief plan for farmers.
"Prime Minister says that Congress governments' loan waivers are only to win elections. So, shall we assume that PM's 'Farmers' Relief Plan' is intended to lose elections?
"Eight months' revenue collection is less than 50 per cent of target, fiscal deficit is 115 per cent of estimate. Where is the money for the new plan," asked the former Finance Minister.
"BJP government's plan will imitate the previous Madhya Pradesh government's plan of paying the farmer the difference between MSP and market price. Remember, the MP Govt plan brought no relief to the indebted farmers.
"The 'pay the difference' plan will help only the farmer who has a marketable surplus. What about the farmer who has no marketable surplus? He is also in debt," he added.
Chidambaram's remarks come a day after Modi held consultations with top BJP leaders, including party chief Amit Shah, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh on issues concerning farmers amid indications that agrarian problems could be a factor in the BJP's ouster from three Hindi heartland states in the recently concluded Assembly elections.