Days after the Congress governments in three Hindi Heartland states - Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, announced waiver of short-term farm loans worth thousands of crores, senior leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Friday made a similar promise to Haryana farmers in case the party comes to power in the state in 2019. Interacting with reporters, Hooda, the two-time chief minister of Haryana said, "The Congress would waive farm loans within six hours of forming government in Haryana". Assembly Elections in Haryana is expected to take place by May 2019. The former chief minister further promissed to increase old-age pension from Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,000 and reduce electricity bill by 50 per cent within 12 hours of coming to power in Haryana.
Following the Congress's decision to waive short-term loans taken by farmers from cooperative banks, the Centre is also planning a major announcement ahead of Lok Sabha Election 2019. According to sources, the Finance Ministry may announce a slew of pro-farmers measures before the end of Parliament's Winter Session on January 5. The pro-farmers measures are significant for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after its set back in recently concluded Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. The BJP's defeat to the Congress in three Hindi Heartland states are largely attributed to farmers' anger among other crucial factors.
During his election campaigns ahead of 2018 Assembly polls, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said that farmers in the three Hindi heartland states - Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan will get a loan waiver within 10 days of his party coming to the power.
In a nerve-wracking see-saw battle with the BJP, Congress on December 11 bagged 114 assembly seats and secured the support of seven more MLAs, Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and four independent MLAs, to cross the simple majority mark of 116 in the 230- member Madhya Pradesh Assembly.
In Chhattisgarh, it was a clean sweep for the Congress with wins in 68 out of the 90 assembly constituencies. Similarly, in Rajasthan, the Congress emerged victorious signalling a newfound energy in the party ranks to stop the BJP juggernaut before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. It bagged 99 seats in the 199-member strong Rajasthan Assembly.
Also, in Karnataka, the Congress-JD(S) coalition government has promised a pro-farmers scheme, which will cover around 44 lakh farmers at a cost of Rs 48,000 crore. However, only 800 farmers have received the waiver till now.