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Why don't they protest against AAP govt over bonus on MSP, Jakhar asks farmer leaders

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Chandigarh, May 15 (PTI) Punjab BJP chief Sunil Jakhar on Wednesday questioned farmer leaders for only protesting against the Centre and not cornering the AAP-led state government to press for bonus on MSP and non-payment of compensation for the damaged crops.

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Jakhar's reaction came amid his party candidates facing protests from farmers during campaigning for the Lok Sabha elections in the state.

As part of the protests, the farmers ask questions to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders and show them black flags for not agreeing to their demands.

Jakhar said the Aam Adami Party (AAP) government in Punjab had promised to pay Rs 20,000 per acre compensation for crop damages during floods last year but the farmers received just Rs 6,800 per acre which the Centre had allocated out of the disaster relief fund.

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Why are they silent on Rs 20,000 compensation and why no protest against CM Bhagwant Mann was being held, the BJP leader asked farmer leaders.

Addressing the media here, Jakhar underlined a slew of "farmers-friendly" measures initiated by the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre, seeking to debunk the "false" narrative being scripted by the AAP and Congress in Punjab to divert attention from their "failures".

Jakhar cited a huge upsurge in pay out to farmers in the state by the Centre, saying the increase in payments were in line with the BJP's commitment to double the farmers' income.

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He reiterated that issues of agitating farmers can only be addressed by the next government at the Centre.

"In 2014, farmers were paid Rs 32,211 crore of minimum support price (MSP) for both paddy and wheat crops. After a decade of the BJP's rule at the Center, farmers received Rs 70,385 crore for both the crops which is more than double," the saffron party's Punjab unit chief said.

Jakhar claimed that the budget for agriculture in 10 years of PM Narendra Modi’s government has been hiked from Rs 21,900 crore to Rs 1.25 lakh crore in 2024.

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On raising income of farmers, he said the BJP-led governments in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are giving Rs 125 per quintal as bonus on wheat MSP.

Jakhar asked why the AAP government is not giving the same bonus to farmers in Punjab. "Why don't they give? Nobody speaks about it," he said, adding that why are farmer unions not holding protests against CM Mann to seek bonus on MSP.

Speaking about the Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme, the BJP leader claimed the Centre is giving Rs 6,000 per annum to 11 crore farmers annually.

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Jakhar added that initially 23 lakh farmers from Punjab were registered for this scheme but their number went down to 8.50 lakh, which means nearly 15 lakh farmers are not getting benefits worth Rs 900 crore per annum.

He alleged that the AAP government failed to get the KYC done of farmers which led to depriving 15 lakh farmers from availing the benefits of this scheme.

"Why do farmer leaders not speak over this issue?" the BJP leader asked.

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He also questioned farmer leaders for not holding any protests against CM Mann for attacking farmers for holding protests and road blockades in 2022.

"I want to ask why farmers' unions did not hold any protest against the CM (Bhagwant Mann)," he said, adding that these unions only hold protests against the BJP.

The Punjab BJP chief also pointed towards faction-driven farmer unions and asked why only two farmer bodies held protests at two border points of Punjab and Haryana in support of their demands.

Farmers owing allegiance to various farm outfits are upset with the BJP-led central government for not accepting their demands, including a law on MSP.

They were also upset for not being allowed to head towards Delhi, forcing them to camp at Shambhu and Khanauri border points of Punjab and Haryana. PTI CHS VSD BHJ BHJ

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