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Ahead of polls, Advani woos farmers
New Delhi, Jan 13 (IANS):
Published on 14 Jan. 2009 1:15 AM IST
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Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani Tuesday revived an old slogan promising productive employment to every individual and water to every farm as he set out to woo farmers ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. The slogan of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh, the precursor to the BJP, "Har haath ko kaam, Har khet ko paani (a job for every hand, water for every field)" was the key to India's prosperity, the prime ministerial candidate of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) said. "As far as the BJP is concerned, from the days of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya, we have believed that the key to India's prosperity, social stability and integral development lies in realisation of his slogan: 'Har haath ko kaam, Har khet ko paani'," Advani told farmers at an interaction held at his residence here. Promising a more "far-reaching" agricultural policy if his party came to power, Advani said the relief package for farmers announced by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) had not worked. "If elected to office, a future BJP-led government will take the most far-reaching policy and pragmatic measures to revive Indian agriculture." "The many relief packages announced by the UPA government have clearly not worked, since farmers' suicides have continued in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, both of which have the Congress- and Congress-led governments," Advani said. "In Andhra Pradesh, handloom weavers too have committed suicide in recent months," Advani added. "What can be a greater tragedy than to see that tens of thousands of distressed farmers in India have committed suicide? Has such a horrible tragedy happened in any other country in the world? No," he said. "This is a totally unacceptable situation." If the NDA came to power, Advani said, "public spending in agriculture, which has dropped drastically since 1990s, will be stepped up massively". "We shall also initiate revolutionary new measures to promote agriculture-based value-addition industries in rural areas. Development of rural infrastructure - roads, power, irrigation, storage facilities, etc. - will receive massive fillip." The previous NDA government, he said, had already shown its commitment by launching the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, the biggest rural roads construction programme since independence. "If agriculture is properly promoted, it is capable of producing the largest number of productive employment opportunities than any other single sector of the economy." He also condemned the Congress party, which ruled the country for the longest period since independence, for not developing an effective model of economic development.

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