Loan waiver scheme beneficiaries turn potential votes for Congress

July 28th, 2008 - 11:33 am ICT by IANS  

By Rajat Rai
Lucknow, July 28 (IANS) Keeping the general elections due next year in mind, the Congress in Uttar Pradesh has already started the process of converting the beneficiaries of the central government’s farm loan waiver scheme into solid vote banks for the party. With these “sleeping votes”, the Congress expects to win 60 seats in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, party sources say. The party at present has only nine Members of Parliament in Uttar Pradesh. Recent activities initiated by the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) indicate that the process to convert the beneficiaries into Congress votes has already begun.

“Seventy percent of such beneficiaries have a hidden gratitude towards the Congress and could well be termed as sleeping votes. These, along with the remaining 30 percent, could be converted into Congress votes if convinced timely,” feels UPCC president Rita Bahuguna Joshi.

The Congress’ in-charge of all the districts have been provided a list of the farmers who have benefited in their respective areas and have been instructed by senior party leaders to facilitate the pending proceedings, a party source informed.

The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the centre announced during the budget a farm loan waiver scheme of Rs.717 billion to benefit small and marginal farmers.

Last week, All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary Digvijay Singh held a meeting of all the district heads and office bearers of the state in Lucknow.

“They have been instructed to organize frequent ‘thanks giving’ meetings of the beneficiaries and also spread awareness about the India-US nuclear deal,” Joshi had informed the media after the meeting.

According to Joshi, all the complaints and problems faced by the beneficiaries have been collected from across the state and were being compiled.

“The implementation of the scheme faced maximum hurdles in Uttar Pradesh. We will be sending the compiled report to Chief Minister Mayawati just for her reference,” Joshi claimed.

“If you do something for someone he or she remains grateful to you for long. Similar is the case here. And when we have done so much for the progress of the country (nuclear deal), don’t we have the right to approach voters (beneficiaries) and ask for their vote?” argues Joshi.

Besides the ‘loan waiver for vote’ scheme for the rural populace, the Congress has adopted the ‘N-deal for vote’ for the urban and semi urban voters.

“The district heads have also been instructed to distribute pamphlets carrying information and benefits of the nuclear deal. They will also be making public contacts to spread awareness about the deal,” explained Joshi.

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