Although Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi talked about forward and backward linkages and showered promises upon the draught-hit Saurashtra while inaugurating the party manifesto on 3 Decmber, hardly anyone from the farming community in the dry region believed the BJP strongman.
"Where will a farmer get Rs 3 lakh to arrange facilities like electricity and other things to irrigate his fields? The government interest on loans is also high," said farmer Dayabhai Patel in Rajkot.
Another farmer in the region, Shivaji Patel said, "Gujarat sells electricity to other states and its own farmers are deprived of it."
In Saurashtra, which has 58 Assembly seats, 115 dams are dry and incidents of farmer suicides are on the rise.
"There is not even drinking water in Saurashtra. Where will they get water for irrigation? Rajkot gets 30-35 percent water somehow," said a Rajkot citizen, adding, "I don't believe in the promises made by Narendra Modi."
The BJP made promises like relief in interest rates for farmers, irrigation of 16 lakh hectares of land in five years and doubling up power production in five years in its manifesto. The failure to complete the Sardar Sarovar project in 2010, as the BJP promised in its 2007 manisfesto, also added woes to Saurashtra. The project is still incomplete.
Saurashtra has 58 Assembly seats and 50 percent of the voters are farmers.
In 2007, BJP won 43 seats. But this time with the Leuva Patels favouring Keshubhai Patel's Gujarat Parivartan Party, Modi faces a double whammy in Saurashtra.
Gujarat votes on 13 and 17 December. The counting is scheduled on 20 December.
Updated Date: Dec 06, 2012 16:47:51 IST