New Delhi, Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday took a swipe at the Narendra Modi government over the hike in the prices of diesel and fertilizers saying it has “reduced” its reputation besides reducing the income of farmers.
In a tweet in Hindi, Rahul Gandhi said, “What did Modi government increase? GST and petrol diesel fertilizer prices, income of his friends and atrocity on the farmers during the pandemic. What it reduced — agricultural subsidy, farmer’s income and the reputation of the central government.”
He attached a news report citing the increase in the prices of diesel and fertilizers.
Earlier in the day, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala slammed the government saying the DNA of the BJP government is anti-farmer and the price rise will lead to an additional burden of Rs 20,000 crore on the farmers.
Addressing a press conference here virtually Surjewala said, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP government have decided to ruin the farming sector of the country. In reality, the BJP government has proved to be the enemy of the farmers.”
He said that it seems that the Modi government wants to enslave the 62 crore farmers of the country.
Surjewala said that as per the agriculture census there are 14.64 crore farmers who cultivate 15.78 crore hectares of land. He said that in the last six and a half years the BJP government has increased the cost of several items related to the agriculture sector and added an additional burden of Rs 15,000 per hectare.
Slamming the government the Congress General Secretary said, “During the Covid pandemic, by increasing the price of the fertilizers the government has tried its best to break the spine of farmers.”
Earlier the government had brought the controversial farm laws, increased the cost of fuel tax on agriculture sector and no farm loan waiver to farmers, he said.
“The cheating with farmers in the name of crop insurance and now increasing the prices of fertilizers and putting an additional pressure of Rs 20,000 crore on farmers proves that the DNA of the BJP government is anti-farmers,” Surjewala said.
He said that the prices of the 50 kg packet of DAP fertiliser has been increased to Rs 1,900 as compared to Rs 1,200 earlier. “The steep price hike of Rs 700 per bag has never happened in the last 73 years,” he said, adding that in 2020-21 about 93 lakh MT of fertilizer will be used and by increasing the prices the farmers will have to face an additional burden of Rs 13,020 crore.
He claimed that when a month ago the opposition parties raised the issue of price rise of fertilizers the ministers and BJP leaders shared videos and denied all such reports. “However, they increased the prices later from back door,” he said.
He cited the example of the price of a 50 kg packet of DAP and said in 2014, when the Congress-led UPA government demitted office, the price was Rs 1,075 while now the price has been increased to Rs 1,900.
He said that similarly potash which used to cost Rs 450 during the UPA government is now being sold at Rs 825 per packet.
He claimed that the Modi government imposed the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on agricultural products. He said on pesticides the government imposed 5 per cent GST while on other agricultural products the GST ranges between 12 to 18 per cent.
Attacking the government, Surjewala said that the government in the last one year increased the prices of diesel by Rs 21.22 per litre, which is commonly used by farmers and also imposed an additional excise duty of 28.37 per cent.
Surjewala demanded that the government should immediately withdraw the increase in the price of the fertilizers.
On Tuesday, NCP chief Sharad Pawar had also written to Union Minister DV Sadanand Gowda over the increase in the price of fertilizers and demanded that the government immediately review its decision.