Belagavi: Perhaps with an eye on assembly elections slated for next year in the state, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has opened his trump card, announcing the waiver of farmers loans availed from the co-operative sector.

The CM’s decision has virtually shut the mouths of his rivals who were accusing him of neglecting farmers in the state. Making surprise announcement at the state legislative assembly on Wednesday, Siddaramaiah said, the waiver of crop loans and short-term loans upto Rs 50,000 would help farmers come out of the crisis which they faced owing to worsening drought situation.

According to CM, the waiver of loans would help about 22,27,506 farmers in the state. Stating that the BJP did not have any moral right to speak on behalf of farmers and to ask for waiver of loans, he said, ₹ 10,736 crore loans had been released to farmers from various co-operative societies and banks in the state and that the orders for loan waiver would shortly be issued with immediate effect.

Criticising the Centre for neglecting farmers in the country, he said, PM Narendra Modi did not respond the state government’s appeal for waiver of loans availed by farmers from various nationalised and commercial banks in the state. The PM did not take any measures on this issue even as he was urged by the state government, said adding that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also made it clear on June 13 that the Centre would not release even a paise for waiver of loans in Karnataka. Actually, farmers in the state availed 80 per cent of loans from the nationalised banks, he added.

The CM exposed the dual policies of the Centre stating that the Centre waived thousands of crores loans taken by the corporate sector in the country but did not write off farmers loans. He said, such measures of the Centre show the real face of the Centre when it came to helping farmers in the country, who were passing through a difficult phase in their lives.