Did loan waiver work for UPA in Vidarbha
Tuesday May 19, 2009, Vidharba
In Vidarbha, which records the highest farmers suicides in India, the Congress campaign was all about the UPA's farm loan waiver.
On April 1, 2009, Congress General Secretary, Rahul Gandhi had said: It was because of Vidarbha that we extended the farm loan waiver.
It's in this cotton belt that the Congress-NCP made dramatic gains in this election, raising its tally from one seat to five.
Yet all the seats Congress NCP won are in eastern Vidarbha. It has not won a single seat in western Vidarbha, worst hit by farmers' suicides.
While Congress-NCP won in Nagpur, Ramtek Wardha, Gadchiroli-Chimur, Gondia-Bhandara, the Sena-BJP took its sweep in Akola, Amravati, Yavatmal-Washim and Buldhana.
Critics say the lion's share of the loan waiver was cornered by prosperous western Maharashtra; Vidarbha got a trickle. And to bring real change, the government will have tackle hard issues: like prices.
"The major difficulties for the farmers like markets, prices and credit have not been solved. So the farmers are unhappy. The major issues have not been addressed and so the rejection has come. And this will continue," said Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti.
Without the waiver, the Congress could have done a lot worse. But it is clear that it still needs to do a lot more.