Karnataka CM swears by farm loan waiver, but says he is at Cong's mercy
28 May 2018
Under pressure to announce farm loan waivers, newly-appointed Karnataka chief minister Kumaraswamy said his party, which does not have the full mandate to form a government in the state, is at the mercy of the Congress party.
Kumaraswami made the statement ahead of his Delhi visit to meet PM Modi and other union ministers.
The chief minister also reiterated that farm loan waiver — a policy that the BJP chief minster announced before resigning ahead of a trust vote — was his priority as he had promised it, and he would resign if he failed to fulfill it.
But, now, Kumaraswami said, he is at the mercy of Congress and not the 6.5 crore people of Karnataka, which meant that any decision against farm loan waiver, would be due to Congress and not his party.
"The people of the state rejected me and our party. I had sought an absolute majority. I have heard the statements of farm leaders too and how much they supported me," he said.
"Mine is not an independent government. I had requested the people to give me a mandate that prevents me from succumbing to any pressure other than you. But today I am at the mercy of the Congress. I am not under the pressure of the 6.5 crore people of the state," Kumaraswamy said.
The chief minister said he has certain compulsions as a politician. However, he has absolute clarity on the issue of farm loan waivers, he said.
Slamming BJP and other farmers' leaders, he said there was no need for any farmers' association to pressurise him (on farm loan waiver).
"I am one step ahead of you to work for the farmers. You need not have to ask me for my resignation over farm loan waiver.
"If I fail to do that then I myself will resign from the post. Farm loan waiver is my priority. Can't you wait for a week? Even the cabinet has not been formed yet," he added.
Kumaraswamy, however, urged farmers not to take the extreme step of committing suicide and to wait for a week as he was in the process of finding a way out to waive loans, not just of cooperative societies, but also nationalised banks.
His remarks came in the wake of BJP's call for a state-wide bandh tomorrow, demanding immediate waiver of farm loans, as promised by the JD(S) in their manifesto.
BJP state president had on 25 May announced a state-wide bandh on May 28 if farm loans worth Rs53,000 crore were not waived by then.
JD(S) leadership has been saying they have to seek the consent of its coalition partner Congress before taking any decision.