Mumbai, Apr 5 (PTI) The Congress today termed the BJP’s proposed rally here on April 6 to commemorate its 38th Foundation Day as “rubbing salt into the wounds of farmers”.

Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant, addressing reporters, said that the ruling BJP was spending “lavishly” on this rally despite the fact that 13,000 farmers had committed suicide, fiscal deficit had touched Rs 15,000 crore and unemployment had risen sharply during its regime.

He criticised the Maharashtra government for excluding 50 lakh farmers from the ambit of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Shetkari Sanman Yojana, popularly referred to as farm loan waiver scheme.

He said that the government did not want too many farmers covered under the waiver scheme as it had launched the programme “half-heartedly”.

“In the month of January 47.46 lakh farmers were included in the green list as eligible for waiver and Rs 23,102 crore was approved. However, in the list brought out on April 3, the number of eligible farmers came down to 46.52 lakh and the approved amount dipped to Rs 18,904 crore,” he claimed.

He said that the government should apply to farmers the same yardstick based on which state Labour and Skills Development Minister Sambhaji Nilangekar got a waiver of Rs 51 crore on a loan amount of Rs 76 crore under the One Time Settlement scheme.

Earlier, on March 28, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had defended Nilangekar in the Legislative Assembly stating that he was just a guarantor for the loan and the OTS was done as per RBI guidelines.

The loan, amounting to Rs 49 crore with interest, was taken by a private firm in 2009 and 2011 and was later declared as a non-performing asset.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.