Pune: Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday said the BJP-led government is not responsible for farmer suicides in Maharashtra and accused the previous Congress-NCP administration of creating "dead assets" by building dams without constructing canals to facilitate the flow of water.
"The Congress-NCP government in the state had built dams but did not construct canals. By constructing these dams, they created dead assets worth Rs 80,000 crore."
"They question us (the BJP) as to what we have done. You have created dead assets and they are not benefiting farmers, so you (the Congress and the NCP) should answer why farmers did not get water (from these dams)," he said.
"We are not responsible for farmer suicides. Those who were in power for 30 years, they just exploited the poor, Dalits and never thought of farmers and due to this the present situation (agrarian crisis) has arisen."
Gadkari was speaking at the state executive meet of the BJP in adjoining Pimpri-Chinchwad township.
Till over 50 percent farmland comes under irrigation, suicide by farmers will not stop, the transport minister said. "The government is taking steps to bring maximum agriculture area under irrigation," the BJP leader maintained.
"When we came to power, the agriculture growth rate (in Maharashtra) was in minus. However, due to the efforts of the Devendra Fadnavis government, the growth rate is 12.5 per cent now. However, we are not satisfied with this growth rate. Only when the growth rate surpasses 20 per cent that farmer suicides will come down," Gadkari said.
Talking about people with criminal background joining the BJP, the former party president said such elements change later. "Even if a person with criminal background joins the party, he becomes virtuous."
He said the BJP admits people with their shortcomings. After accepting them, it's the party's responsibility to reduce their vices and turn them into good workers. "The responsibility of old party workers has increased. Accept the new people who are coming into the party."
Gadkari said unless people from other parties join the saffron outfit, it will not able to broaden its base and become a big organisation.
"The BJP's vote share will increase only when the vote share of the Congress and the NCP comes down. Competent people will always rise in the party," he said.
Results of the Delhi civic body polls and just held Assembly elections, including those in Uttar Pradesh, reflect the people's faith in the BJP and its leadership, he said.
He asked the party workers not to allow power to go into their heads. "People are seeing their future in the BJP. People from all walks of life think if there is a party which can fulfil their dreams, it is the BJP."
Updated Date: Apr 27, 2017 10:03 AM