BJP launches farmers outreach campaign in Bengal ahead of polls;Nadda highlights Modi's pro-farmers face

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(With additional inputs) Pradipta Tapadar Katwa (WB), Jan 9 (PTI) Amid ongoing protests over the new farm laws, BJP president J P Nadda on Saturday launched a new campaign to woo the farmers of West Bengal and said the BJP government at the centre has increased the agricultural budget six-fold and the Minimum Support Price by 1.5 times.

Nadda, who launched the 'Krishak Suraksha Abhiyan' and 'Ek Mutti Chawal' (a fistful of rice) to woo farmers in the poll- bound state, said the Modi government has worked more for the farmers community than the previous governments at the centre.

He also mocked at West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for agreeing to implement the PM Kisan Yojna only after realising that her party is fast losing ground among the farmers in the state.

Nadda, said it is 'too late' for the TMC government to agree to implement the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi.

'Since coming to power, the Modi govt has increased budget on agriculture by six times. In 2013-14, the budget on agriculture was only Rs 22,000 crore. Today, it stands at Rs 1,34,000 crore,' Nadda said here.

Nadda said its Prime Minister Narendra Modi who implemented the Swaminathan Committee report on Minimum Support Price (MSP) for crops.

'MSP according to Swaminathan Committee has been implemented only by PM Modi, increasing it nearly by 1.5 times,' he said.

Later in the afternoon Nadda launched 'Ek Muthi Chawal' (a fistful of rice), a programme under which he would collect rice from farmers' homes and brief them about the benefits of the new agri legislations, as part of efforts to blunt the opposition 'anti-farmer' allegations against the BJP-led central government following farmers protests in Delhi.

Purba Burdwan is a major rice producing district and it is called the 'rice bowl of West Bengal.' The district, around 100 km from Kolkata also holds special significance in the state politics as it comprises of 15 assembly constituencies. Out of this majority are with the TMC at present and the saffron party wish to win them to form its government in the state.

Sunil Kumar Mondal, Lok Sabha member from Burdwan Purba constituency recently switched over to the BJP from the TMC.

Nadda's address at 'Krishok Surokkha Gram Sabha' in Jagadanandpur marked the beginning of 40,000 such meetings to be held by the BJP across West Bengal before the assembly elections just months away from now.

There are 71.23 lakh farmers' families in West Bengal, 96 per cent of them small and marginal.

Ridiculing Banerjee for agreeing to implement PM Kisan Yojna only after realising that her party is fast losing ground among the farmers in the state, Nadda said once voted to power the BJP would deliver justice to the farmers of the state.

He said the state government was compelled to go for the beneficiary scheme only after coming to know that 'anger of the farmers over being deprived of the central schemes will wipe out the TMC government in the state'.

'The Mamata Banerjee government agreed to implement the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi after such a long time as she realised that the TMC is fast losing ground in Bengal.

'But, let me say it clearly that it is already too late for the TMC government,' Nadda said while launching the campaign.

Claiming that nearly 70,000 families could not avail the benefits of PM-Kisan Samman Nidhi in Bengal, Nadda said 'Mamata Ji is now writing letters to the PM allowing its implementation, as the elections are approaching'.

'We will form the government in Bengal and will help our farmers in Bengal avail the benefits. We would also implement Ayushman Bharat scheme in the state,' he said.

In the near future, 4.66 crore people would receive benefits of mega health programme Ayushman Bharat in Bengal after BJP forms the next government, he claimed.

The TMC government earlier this month softened its stand on implementing PM Kisan scheme in the state, after more than a year of opposition to the programme.

Nadda asserted that the massive farmers rally at Katwa proves that days of Mamata Banerjee government are numbered.

'The warmth you all have shown to welcome me shows you have decided that Mamata Banerjee government is going to be shown the door and BJP will form the govt in Bengal.

'Your happiness and confidence shows the public is ready to welcome us to form the government,' Nadda said.

He also attacked the TMC on corruption and said the slogan of 'Maa Mati Manush' and has turned into 'tolabaji (extortion), appeasement and dictatorship'.

'They have stooped to such a level in Bengal that people have to pay cut money even for performance of last rites of their kins. This is the level of corruption they are doing in Bengal at the moment,' he said.

The Modi government was providing ration during the COVID pandemic, but TMC workers transformed their homes into ration offices.

'Such was the loot done by the ruling party here in Bengal,' he said.

This was Nadda's first visit to the state after the attack on his convoy during his journey to Diamond Harbour from Kolkata on December 10.

Election to the 294-member Bengal Assembly is due in April-May. PTI PNT SNS SNS