Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has questioned the loan waivers for farmers, recently announced in several states, said a report on Wednesday. During an administrative meeting during the day, Banerjee reportedly said that while some were announcing farm loan waivers, she was gathering information on whether the benefits had reached the poorest of poor farmers. (Also read: Banerjee Rakes up NRC Issue, Says 23 Lakh Hindu Bengalis Among 40 Lakh Kept Out)
“There are some who are waiving farmers’ loans and I am gathering papers to find out whether farmers are actually benefited or not,” said the Trinamool Congress chief, as per a report in Zee News.
While Banerjee targeted the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over farmer insurance scheme, she also launched an attack on the Congress, without naming it, by referring to loan waiver announcements. Her remark comes days after newly-elected Congress governments in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh have announced loan waivers for farmers.
Reacting to Banerjee’s attack, BJP leader Rahul Sinha called her a “worthless chief minister”. The report quoted him as saying, “She (Mamata Banerjee) is a worthless Chief Minister. She herself cannot do that much for farmers and is saying this.”
Meanwhile, Banerjee’s attack has triggered speculation on whether she is distancing herself from the Congress, said the report. Soon after the results to Assembly elections were announced, she had taken to Twitter to call it a defeat of the BJP, rather than a win for the Congress, she specifically mentioned Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief K Chandrasekhar Rao for his win in the southern state. KC Rao has also met her in Kolkata in his attempt to cobble together a non-BJP, non-Congress federal front for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Banerjee, who is being seen as a major centre in the country’s political power-play ahead of next year’s general elections, is now the only woman chief minister in India. The year started with three women chief ministers but after the recent elections, Banerjee is the only one to be in office.
While Vasundhara Raje Scindia lost power in Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir’s Mehbooba Mufti resigned in June after ally BJP withdrew support from her government. “Each woman chief minister, including me, has won elections and then lost. Once you have lost, you have to leave. I am happy that Mamata Banerjee represents all of us women at the moment as the chief minister of Bengal and of course as a part of the Opposition, she will have a role in the upcoming elections,” Sheila Dikshit, who was the longest serving chief minister of Delhi, serving from 1998 to 2013, told PTI.