I waived crop loans as a farmer: CM

Palaniswami denies charge that he was implementing schemes that Stalin had suggested

AIADMK co-coordinator and Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Sunday rejected DMK president M.K. Stalin’s contention that the AIADMK government was only implementing schemes that he had suggested.

“Mr. Stalin has been claiming that I waived outstanding crop loans [from cooperative institutions] only after he suggested it. I am a farmer. I waived the outstanding crop loans only because I intended to remove all challenges facing farmers,” Mr. Palaniswami said during his election campaign at various places in Tiruvallur district.

According to him, Mr. Stalin had been mentioning the things that he [Mr. Palaniswami] has been implementing. The AIADMK is in a position to implement the scheme while the DMK can only keep talking but never implement them, he said.

While parties had made various promises in their election manifestos, it was only the AIADMK that had waived outstanding crop loans, even without mentioning it in its manifesto, Mr. Palaniswami said.

The government had waived the loans after looking into the hardships faced by farmers. “Not all farmers who have taken loans from cooperative banks are from the AIADMK. They are all farmers,” he said, countering a related charge made by Mr. Stalin. There was no discrimination of farmers on political lines. He said that during the DMK regime, the police had opened fire on farmers who were demanding a reduction in power tariff by a paise for every unit. “Farmers will not forget the incident. It was our Amma [Jayalalithaa] who awarded compensation of ₹5 lakh to families of those killed in the incident,” he said.

The government was chalking out a plan for a scheme under which it would procure produce from farmers directly and export them, he said.

Helpline to be launched

Criticising Mr. Stalin for receiving petitions in a box during campaigns, he said the government would launch a mobile phone-based grievance redressal system within a week, through the 1,100 helpline. “Gone are the days when you have to submit your complaint in a box. Everyone has a mobile phone these days. Just one photo is enough. It will come come directly to the Chief Minister,” he said.

Mr. Palaniswami also accused the DMK of not being genuinely interested in the release of the seven life convicts in the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

He called upon his partymen to counter the DMK’s “false campaign”, using information and communication technology.

The Chief Minister reiterated his charge that the DMK was promoting dynastic politics. But in the AIADMK, even a grassroot worker could become an MLA, Minister or even the Chief Minister, he said.

At Avadi, he pointed to some cadre, and said: “Just like you, I started our party’s unit in my village, which was a Congress fort then. I went to college after starting the unit. But within two days, they threw away our party’s flagpole.” He said he thereafter climbed the political ladder, putting in 46 years of hardwork.

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