Congress wants Sonia to take credit for loan waiver

March 3rd, 2008 - 6:21 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Sonia Gandhi

New Delhi, March 3 (IANS) Fearing that the opposition parties will claim credit for the Rs.60,000 crore (Rs.600 billion) loan waiver announced in the budget for farmers in distress, ruling Congress MPs want party president Sonia Gandhi to convey to the people that it was her initiative. The party MPs met Gandhi Monday and asked her to give instructions to the state leaders to propagate the relief package as her “initiative” and part of the Congress party’s agenda to help the millions of farmers who had been reeling under debt.

The Congress is organising a farmers’ rally here Sunday to thank Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the farm loan waiver, another move to derive maximum mileage from the move. Farmers from all states around the capital are expected to attend.

Gandhi has started meeting party MPs state-wise to take stock of their response to the railway and union budgets presented last week. She met MPs from Andhra Pradesh, Assam and Bihar Monday.

The MPs including ministers from Andhra Pradesh pointed out that there had been an attempt by all other parties to take credit for the loan waiver announced by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

“We do not want the state governments to take credit for the farmers’ package as happened with the NREGA (National Rural Employment Guarantee Act). We should project it as an idea mooted by our party president Sonia Gandhi,” a Congress MP from Andhra Pradesh told IANS here.

They also pointed out that many states had not even mentioned Gandhi’s or Congress party’s “contribution” for the rural job guarantee scheme in their advertisements and hoardings.

The party MPs warned that the state governments - many of them ruled by opposition National Democratic Alliance (NDA) constituents - would try to garner the credit for the central programmes.

The MPs are believed to have suggested to Gandhi that the Congress should launch a massive publicity programme to explain it to the masses.

The party feels that the loan waiver scheme, NREGA and other flagship programmes would enable it to regain the lost ground in the country’s electoral politics.

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