Ahmedabad: Opposition parties today condemned the Narendra Modi government for its "insensitive response" to farmers` suicides in drought-hit areas of Gujarat.
In past 15 days, eleven farmers, mainly in Saurashtra region which has had 92 per cent deficient rain, reportedly committed suicide due to crop failure.
On Tuesday, Gujarat BJP president R C Faldu allegedly said suicides were unfortunate, but the state government was not responsible for the deaths.
"If an industrialist`s son makes an investment which turns bad, will the government be responsible for it?" Faldu had reportedly said.
The state BJP president today issues a statement denying that he had ever made such a remark. "People are spreading lies," he claimed.
Interestingly, State Agriculture Minister Dilip Sanghani had yesterday said, "Farmers have invested money in the crop which failed. It is not because of action or inaction of the government they have committed suicide."
In a strong reaction, Gujarat Congress president Arjun Modhwadia termed these statements "shocking" and demanded apology from the Modi government and resignation of Faldu from the post of state BJP president.
"Every third day a farmer in the state is committing suicide. This is very unfortunate. But our Chief Minister is busy with fairs, events. He should apologise to the farmers and immediately ask Faldu to step down," Modhwadia said.
"The way BJP president made fun regarding the farmers` deaths, it proves that there is drought of sensitiveness in this government," general secretary of Gujarat Parivartan Party, Gordhan Zadfia said.
"Modi government should publicly acknowledge the responsibility for farmers` suicides and should announce a relief package of minimum Rs 5,000 per acre," he said.
Former Deputy Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Narhari Amin said in Rajkot that Faldu should resign from his post for misleading people by claiming that state government was taking all possible measures to provide relief.
Modi government had not even bothered to provide financial aid to farmers and was misusing government funds for organising functions and events, he said.
Congress would give Rs 51,000 from party funds to the kin of farmers who committed suicide, he said.