New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi`s recent visit to Maharashtra was flayed in Rajya Sabha by BJP and Shiv Sena, which described it as "political tourism" that yielded nothing as the state was witnessing a spate of suicide by farmers.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Prakash Javadekar (BJP) said five farmers in Vidarbha committed suicide on the International Labour Day on May 1 while 900 farmers have committed suicide in six districts of the state in last eight years of UPA.
"More than 370 farmers have committed suicide since January itself. These are not suicides but killings and the name of the killer is UPA...Rahul Gandhi had promised help to Kalavati, whose farmer husband had committed suicide, but she has to wage a battle to get her dues. Two more persons from her family also committed suicide later," Javadekar said.
Backing Javadekar on the issue, Sanjay Raut (Shiv Sena) said, "Rahul Gandhi went to Maharashtra four days back. It was political tourism. People did not get anything from this political tourism except some assurances."
Raut also pointed to the suicide of three farmers including Gajanand Ghotekar, a cotton farmer in Yavatmal region last month. Ghotekar had left behind a suicide note asking not to vote for NCP and Congress.
"Gajanand, in his suicide note, appealed not to vote for Congress and NCP saying these parties do not care for farmers. A person does not tell a lie at the time of his death. Hence the government and Parliament should take his words seriously," Raut said.
Demanding urgent steps in view of drought in the region, he said the pace of steps being taken by the government and the administration in the state is very slow. "Even 25 per cent of the announcements made by the government have not actually reached the farmers," he said.
Javadekar said that instead of making efforts to end the woe of farmers, ministers in Maharashtra are arguing that figures of suicide are exaggerated and two or three but not five farmers committed suicide.
He said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had announced a package of over Rs 3,000 crore to Vidarbha but the government and the `babus` devoured the entire money.
He said that while cotton farmers are prospering in the in BJP-ruled Gujarat, the same farmers in Maharashtra are committing suicide.
He said the government should immediately help these farmers through a comprehensive package and an action plan.
In his Zero Hour mention, Parashottam Rupala (BJP) said by lifting ban on cotton export, the government gave money to the Cotton Corporation of India to buy cotton from farmers but nobody was purchasing cotton bales from Sabarkunda marketing yard in Gujarat.
While the Centre enacted ruled and disbursed money, the CCI bought the cotton bales from traders instead of farmers, he said, demanding a probe into it.