Days after Republic Bharat exposed the truth behind the Congress' promise of farm loan-waivers, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath has admitted that his state government has not been able to waive off the loans of the farmers within 10 days as promised before the 2018 assembly elections.
While addressing the media on Tuesday, the senior Congress leader has made multiple admissions that the Madhya Pradesh government has not yet waived off the loans of all the farmers despite being in power for over 140 days, even as his party chief Rahul Gandhi continues to use the promise's fulfillment as a major poll plank in the ongoing 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Kamal Nath said that while the loans could not be cleared in 10 days, he had given the instruction to the ministry within 2 hours of taking oath as CM on December 17. He went on to say that he does not have a magic wand to wave off the loan.
"After taking oath on December 17, I had gone to the Mantralaya and gave the instructions to clear the debt of the farmers. Shivraj Singh ji first said that Rahul Gandhi gave a speech that the debt will be cleared in 10 days. I am shocked that how can the man who was the Chief Minister for so many years say that in 10 days the debt will be cleared. Rahul ji must have said that in 10 days the debt will be clear, but not in 10 days, I gave the instruction within 2 hours. I took the decision in 2 hours. Nobody has a magic wand, this is natural," Kamal Nath said.
Admitting that the loan waiver process goes through multiple levels which take more than 10 days of time, Kamal Nath explained the hierarchy through which the process of the farmer loan waiver went through.
"He (Shivraj Singh Chouhan) has been the CM for so many, he must have had this much experience that proceedings take place on such issues. We took the decision on December 17, the Cabinet took the decision on January 7, then the matter was taken forward on January 15. How will the loans be cleared? Shivraj ji must understand the matter. How will the loans be cleared?"
The Madhya Pradesh CM further talked about the process of applications which were divided into three colours on the basis of the farmers' Aadhar Cards, asserting that the application process took time:
"We asked the farmers to give us applications. The application was green, white and pink in colours. Green for those who had the Aadhar card. White for those who did not have the Aadhar Card. Pink for those where there was a doubt. We started getting them filled from January 15. The ministers had a meeting on December 25. The pink, white and green forms were prepared. Simple forms were prepared. I used to sit for hours to find out how the loans can be cleared in the simplest way possible. Then we started getting the forms filled (from the farmers). Almost 47 lakh farmers filled the forms for the loans, 50 lakh. Then it was started."
In another statement, Kamal Nath admitted that the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh could not fulfill the promise the party president made on the basis of which the Grand Old party came into power in the state.
"Shivraj Singh talked about Rahul Gandhi's 10 days promise. You have been the chief minister, you know the decision of the cabinet, it does not happen in 10 days. But the decision was taken. This was done in 10 days, We did it in 1 hour. Furthermore, the model of conduct was issued. We got the letter from Election Commission on May 7 that we can start is again. They say that Election Commission that nothing to do with it. Shivraj Singh must understand the basics," he said.
He then disputed Shivraj Singh Chouhan's allegations about certain loans not being waived, highlighting how the promise pertained only to crop loans, adding that while loans of 21 lakh farmers have been waived off 47 lakhs are still left.
"We said that we will waive the crop loans of the farmers. Shivraj Singh gave us an example of a farmer who had taken loan for a tracker-trolley. We had never said that we will waive that off. We only said we will waive off only crop loan. He wants to mislead the population of Madhya Pradesh. We say that we have only waived off 21 lakh farmers. 47 lakhs are still left. We are not saying we have done it for all farmers. Then, Code of Conduct was implemented. A farmer has 4 accounts. We said we will waive off 2 lakhs. Now the question comes on which account we will waive off the loan? Then that is investigated. Would I have done in 75 days? Would I have done that in 23 days? There are farmers who have debts of 2.5 lakhs, now we cannot give them the certificate that they are debt-free because we are only waving off 2 lakh worth of loan, but then he would not get the certificate."
The remarkable concession by Kamal Nath comes days after Republic Bharat had broadcast a sensational sting operation exposing Congress' promise of farm loan-waivers in 10 days. During the sting operation, stung Congress MLA revealed how he had waylaid farmers by pointing out the impracticality of the 10-day loan-waiver assurance given by Rahul Gandhi ahead of the elections. Another MLA openly said that there was no money and that it would have to be raised via taxes or via reducing spending on state schemes.
A third MLA, meanwhile, countered the first MLA's contention that nationalised banks were the impediment, even as the sting also revealed that while some farmers were being waylaid, others were having loans far greater than the stipulated Rs 2 lakh waived.