IN THE run-up to the October 21 Assembly elections, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday blamed NCP supremo and former Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and his policies for farmer suicides in the state. Speaking at a rally in Akot tehsil in Akola district in Vidarbha region, Fadnavis termed the issue as Pawar’s “sin”.
“Farmer suicides are the sin of Sharad Pawar and his Government in Maharashtra. It started and increased during your regime,” Fadnavis alleged. Hitting out at Pawar, the Chief Minister said, “Pawar is talking about farmer suicides in his rallies in Vidarbha. I want to ask him, who was in power in Maharashtra when farmers started committing suicides.” Fadnavis accused Pawar of stopping water supply to Vidarbha and said the latter’s “corrupt policies” robbed people of the region of funds.
“You stopped water being supplied to Vidarbha region. You were a minister at the Centre and you were in power in Maharashtra for the last 15 years (between 1999-2014). Your corrupt practices siphoned off funds meant for Vidarbha’s farmers. You slowed down irrigation in this region. Hence, farmers are forced to commit suicide,” Fadnavis said. Fadnavis said regions in the State where water is readily available for irrigation do not see farmer suicides whereas areas which are not irrigated properly tend to have high number of such incidents.