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Maharashtra loan waiver: Shiv Sena to hold protests today, demands farmers’ names be made public

LiveMint logoLiveMint 10-07-2017 Abhiram Ghadyalpatil

Mumbai: The Shiv Sena, which is part of the government in Maharashtra, will hold demonstrations at all district headquarters across the state on Monday to demand a blanket loan waiver and seek information from district collectors on the beneficiaries of the Rs34,022 crore loan waiver announced by the Devendra Fadnavis government.

Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray has asked all Sena MPs, MLAs and district chiefs to carry out a “Dhol Bajao” (beat the drum) protest outside the offices of all district central co-operative banks (DCCB) in the state. After the protest, the Shiv Sena functionaries will meet DCCB chairmen to demand that the names of farmers who have benefitted from the loan waiver be made public by the banks, according to Shiv Sena’s media manager Harshal Pradhan. The Shiv Sena will also deploy the cadres from its consumer protection cell at each district bank to help out the farmers.

Shiv Sena secretary and MP Vinayak Raut has said in a press release that the protests at district banks will help bring information about the implementation of the loan waiver in the public domain. “Information is not forthcoming about the exact number of farmers who will benefit from the loan waiver. All Shiv Sena cadres have been asked to seek this information from the banks so that even the government knows how the loan waiver is being implemented on ground,” Raut said.

Soon after chief minister Fadnavis announced the loan waiver in June, Thackeray insisted on the names of beneficiaries being made public. The Shiv Sena chief was particularly focused on the claim made by Fadnavis that the loan waiver will make 4 million farmers completely debt-free. Fadnavis last week released figures that put this number at 3.6 million.

Meanwhile, Thackeray will resume his state-wide tour on 12 July. He will visit Jalgaon and Dhule districts in north Maharashtra and hold talks with farmers. The Shiv Sena chief has been on a state-wide campaign to reach out to farmers since May and has so far travelled to Vidarbha, Marathwada, and parts of western and north Maharashtra. A Sena MP, who has joined Thackeray on this campaign, said he was assessing the impact of farmer-oriented measures initiated by the Fadnavis government.

Thackeray also decided to launch this campaign to get first-hand knowledge about the political situation in the state in the context of speculations about mid-term polls “frequently fuelled by the BJP”, this MP said, requesting anonymity.

“Though the BJP fuels this speculation to keep us on notice, Uddhav saheb has always stressed that the cadres have to be ready for polls whenever they are held. It is necessary to maintain this dialogue with the farmers so that we are ahead of the BJP in planning and executing our strategy,” the MP said.

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