CM Kumaraswamy also criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for claiming that the Karnataka government had not waived loans of farmers but instead issued arrest warrants to them.
Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Monday hit out at the opposition BJP by accusing them of instigating protests by farmers in the state. He claimed that those protesting were not farmers.
Speaking after a state cabinet meeting at the Vidhana Soudha on Monday, Kumaraswamy said, "People pretending to be sugarcane farmers are protesting but the government has given them the space to peacefully protest. I don't understand what they are protesting for. There has been no negligence from any government official and we have already taken steps to appease many of the demands they have stated," he said.
Kumaraswamy also confirmed that he has convened a meeting of farmer leaders, sugar mill owners and other stakeholders at the Vidhana Soudha on Tuesday to resolve the situation.
He also pointed out that the arrears of sugarcane growers in the state had come down from nearly Rs 2,000 crore to Rs 35.62 crore, and that the state government was working towards ensuring that arrears were paid to all sugarcane growers in the state.
He also hit back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his comments on the Karnataka government harassing its farmers by issuing arrest warrants against them for not repaying farm loans. Speaking at a rally in Chhattisgarh, PM Narendra Modi had claimed that the Karnataka government was making false promises to its farmers. "The promise (of loan waiver) was made to farmers during the Karnataka polls, but even after around a year has passed, the promise is yet to be fulfilled. Instead, the (Karnataka) government is issuing warrants and arresting farmers against whom debts are pending", he had said.
CM Kumaraswamy responded to the statement by criticising the Prime Minister for 'misleading the country.' "I am surprised to see the comments made by our Prime Minister that the Karnataka government has issued warrants against farmers instead of waiving loans. I would like to point out that our government has waived loans of farmers but the warrants have been issued by the institutions controlled by the central government.The central government has given instructions to nationalised banks to issue the warrants and the Prime Minister is misleading the country with the comments he has made," Kumaraswamy said.
A Rs 45,000 crore partial loan waiver scheme introduced by the state government in August is yet to be implemented in the state. Kumaraswamy added that discussions have been held with 21 nationalised banks and that the loan waiver will be implemented before the 2019 state budget session.
According to a notification by the state government, 100 out of 175 taluks in Karnataka have been hit by drought and it has sought Rs 16,000 crore from the Centre as drought relief measures.
A section of the farming community in the state protested against the state government on Monday. The protests came a day after CM Kumaraswamy appeared to dismiss the protestors by claiming that they were not sugarcane farmers. He also described them as 'goons' after they entered the Suvarna Soudha in Belagavi in trucks loaded with sugarcane.