Karnataka’s Agricultural Marketing Minister Shivanand Patil kicked up a controversy with his remarks that the farmers in the state wish for drought to occur as they get farm loan waivers from the government. Speaking at an event in Chikkodi in Belgavi district, Patil reportedly said that farmers wish for a drought year after year as the government waives off their loans. The minister also said that since the farmers are getting everything for free, including water, electricity, seeds and fertilisers, they shouldn’t expect government’s help all the time.
“The Krishna River water is free, current is free. Since many parts of north Karnataka are hit by drought, the Chief Minister is even giving seeds and fertilisers for free. Now the farmers are wishing for one drought after the other as their loans get waived,” said Patil.
He went on to add that even if they don’t want, there will be drought every 3-4 years.
Patil also said that the state is likely to be hit by drought once every three to four years due to the climatic conditions.
“The state will see drought-like situations every three or four years and the government will always be there to help the farmers,” added the minister.
Patil said that other Chief Ministers earlier provided help to the farmers during the crisis situation.
“Be it Yediyurappa, H.D. Kumaraswamy or Siddaramaiah, everybody wanted to help the farmers during the crisis situation. But one must understand that it is not always possible for governments to extend help to the farmers,” he said.
Meanwhile, the state BJP unit has slammed the minister and demanded his removal from the Cabinet.
Leader of opposition R. Ashok has demanded Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to dismiss Patil from the Cabinet for his 'insensitive' remarks about farmers.
Talking to mediapersons in Chikkamagaluru, Ashok said the minister is known for making anti-farmers statements.
He said Patil had earlier ridiculed farmers who committed suicide because they were unable to bear the burden of loans.
“Shivanand Patil has no right to remain in the Cabinet,” he said.
Former Telangana minister and Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leader K.T. Rama Rao has also slammed Patil for his remarks.
“What sort of ministers are these? Making absolutely ludicrous statements about the farmers,” he posted on ‘X’.
“No farmer will ever wish for drought. Even in the worst of conditions, all they wish for is empathy from the government,” Rama Rao added.