Reaching out to farmers in West Bengal, BJP national president J.P. Nadda on Saturday launched BJP’s reach-out programme, called “ek mutho chaal” or a fistful of rice, in the state from a remote village in Katwa region of East Burdwan.
This comes at a time when the Modi government is facing a determined protest over the three farm laws,
Addressing a public gathering, Nadda mocked West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for agreeing to implement PM Kisan Yojna ‘only after realising that her party is fast losing ground among the farmers in the state’.
“I heard that Mamata didi has written a letter to PM saying that she wants to join the PM’s Kisan Nidhi Yojana. This letter is no more required as we have started the Kisan Suraksha Yojana. The BJP govt will come in West Bengal and we will implement the Kisan Nidhi Yojana in Bengal,” he said,
He added, “We had been asking the CM to implement the policy since last year as around 70 lakh families are not getting the benefit of the scheme. 23 lakh people have informed the central government that they wanted to join but Mamata didi didn’t give permission. Now she remembers the farmers as she saw that power has gone out of her hands. No use crying over spilt milk now!”
While Mamata Banerjee’s party has made the farmers’ protest a big issue, BJP has questioned why the TMC government is denying farmers of Bengal the benefits of the scheme. Following sharp attacks from BJP, Banerjee indicated on Monday that the state government may eventually say yes to the central scheme.
The TMC government earlier this month had softened its stand on implementing PM Kisan scheme in the state, after more than a year of opposition to the programme. Nadda asserted the farmers rally at Katwa proves that days of Mamata Banerjee’s government are numbered. He said the BJP would provide justice to the farmers after it forms the next government in Bengal.
Talking about the central government’s schemes for farmers, he said, “The national agriculture market has joined with the 17 markets of Bengal. Now in 17 markets farmers can sell their products at any cost. This has been implemented by PM Modi”.
He said that the three new farm bills give freedom to farmers.
“The three new farm bills give freedom to the farmers. Through this, farmers will get the correct price for their products. Farmers now can directly handle the sale of their cultivation,” he said.
Nadda collects rice from villagers
The BJP’s ‘Chal Songroho’ (rice collection) drive under its ‘Krishak Suraksha Abhiyan’ was conducted in Jagadanandapur village in Katwa. Accompanied by West Bengal BJP leaders including the party’s state unit chief Dilip Ghosh, Nadda spoke with farmers to know about their condition and pasted posters of the campaign on the walls of their houses as women blew conch shells. “We are happy that he visited our houses and ate sweets offered by us. He took one fistful of rice from each household and put them in his ‘jhola’ (bag),” local resident Aparna Mondal told reporters.
Nadda then had lunch in the kutcha house of another farmer Mathura Mondal. The BJP chief had a Bengali vegetarian meal comprising ‘shukto’, ‘shak bhaja’, fried brinjals, crispy potato fries, chutney and ‘payesh’, cooked by Mondal’s wife, reported PTI. “We are happy that such a big person had lunch at our home,” she said. Earlier in the day, Nadda began his day-long visit to the state by offering puja at Katwa’s centuries-old Radha Gobinda temple, which is revered by locals. which involves a Rs 6,000 direct cash transfer per year in three equal tranches to farmers, reported PTI.