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Posted at: Jul 12, 2018, 2:13 AM; last updated: Jul 12, 2018, 10:05 AM (IST)

Armed with MSP, Modi hits out

Accuses Cong of betraying farmers, promises more agri initiatives
Armed with MSP, Modi hits out
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar and SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal wave at the Malout farmers’ rally. Photo: Himanshu Mahajan

Archit Watts

Tribune News Service

Malout, July 11

Accusing the Congress of betraying farmers and using them as a mere vote bank, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday lashed out at the “anti-farmer” policies of successive Congress governments at the Centre.

  Addressing a massive farmers’ rally here, the first after the BJP-led NDA government announced a substantial hike in the MSP (minimum support price) for various crops, PM Modi said his government had redeemed its promise to the farmers. 

He did not make any announcement at the thanksgiving rally organised by the Shiromani Akali Dal, an NDA ally, and Punjab BJP. 

He asked the people to question the Congress government as to why Punjab trailed other states in ease of doing business, as per the World Bank report, even as he congratulated the ML Khattar-led BJP government in Haryana for being ranked third. “Ask the Congress on Punjab’s ranking during the SAD-BJP government. You must also ask it to expedite work on AIIMS-Bathinda,” he said, terming cancer a serious problem in Malwa  belt.

Attired in an immaculate white kurta-pyjama, PM Modi arrived at 12.45 pm to a tumultuous welcome. He was offered a turban by state BJP chief Shwait Malik. Five farmers picked by SAD presented a model of a combine harvester and tractor to the PM who started his speech with “Waheguru ji ka khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh”. 

Each time he spoke in Punjabi, a wave of excitement ran through the crowds. 

“The Congress is protecting and working for just one family. Our policies are making them restive. We have raised the MSP for crops. This will benefit farmers cultivating land on lease. We are developing varieties of seed, taking steps to improve soil health and ensure better marketing,” he said, describing the rally as a “farmers’ Kumbh”.

 Describing former CM Parkash Singh Badal an “ideal farmers’ leader”, the PM said he always took his advice on farm issues. 

Expressing concern over stubble-burning, he said the Centre was finding ways to ensure the farmers were not compelled to burn agricultural residue.

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