Madhya Pradesh Urban Development and Housing Minister Bhupendra Singh on Wednesday said “incorrect” information was provided by Agriculture Minister Kamal Patel before the Vidhan Sabha about farm loan waivers during the 15-month Congress regime in the State.

Speaking to reporters here, Mr. Singh said: “Wrong information has been sent to the Vidhan Sabha. It will be inquired into and corrected.”

Mr. Patel, during a single-day Assembly session on Monday, had made a written admission in reply to questions by former Congress Ministers Jaivardhan Singh and Bala Bachchan, stating that farm loans of nearly 27 lakh farmers had been waived since December 2018, effectively during the Congress government. The reply had embarrassed the BJP, which had often assailed the Congress claiming it had reneged on its election promise of waiving farm loans within 10 days of coming to power.

In his replies the Agriculture Minister had stated that under the ‘Jai Kisan Crop Loan Waiver Scheme’, ₹7,10,896 lakh (₹7,108.96 crore) for 20,23,136 cases had been approved in the first phase before December 17 last year, while ₹4,53,802 lakh (₹4538.02 crore) had been approved for 6,72,245 cases in the second phase.

‘Truth has prevailed’

Reacting to Mr. Patel’s admission in the Assembly, State Congress working president Jitu Patwari said, “Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has several times stated that the BJP toppled our government as we did not waive loans… Despite our clarifications with proof, their lies and hypocrisy didn’t stop. Now, the truth has prevailed, while the lies have been exposed.”

Congress MP and former party president Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “Congress – it fulfilled what it promised. BJP – only false promises.”

Earlier, several BJP leaders, including Jyotiraditya Scindia, had flagged the reported non-fulfilment of loan waivers, while Mr. Patel had described it as a “fraud”.

Calling upon both Mr. Chouhan and Mr. Scindia to apologise to the public as they had “betrayed farmers”, former Chief Minister Kamal Nath said Mr. Patel’s admission affirmed his avowal of keeping the election promise. “After this admission, the government should immediately begin waiving loans of the remaining farmers,” he said.

In his reply, Mr. Patel had pointed out that approval for 5,90,848 cases was pending. “A detailed review of the loan waiver scheme is under consideration by the government,” he had said.

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