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‘Pawar had listed love affairs among reasons behind farmer suicides’

Eknath Khadse

Mumbai:  Days after Union Minister Radha Mohan Singh stoked a controversy by his remark that love affairs were among the reasons for farmer suicides, a BJP leader today said NCP chief Sharad Pawar had made a similar statement in Parliament in 2013.

“Pawar had told Parliament thrice – in the Lok Sabha on February 26 and August 6 and in the Rajya Sabha on August 16 (in 2013) that love affairs was one of the reasons behind farmer suicides,” State Agriculture Minister Eknath Khadse said in the Assembly today.

Taking exception to Khadse’s remark, NCP created a ruckus and demanded that his statement be expunged.

The NCP members rushed to the well of the House following which Speaker Haribhau Bagde’s adjourned the proceedings for 20 minutes.

“Pawar had said that as per the National Crime Records Bureau, the causes of farmers suicides include family problems, illness, drug abuse, unemployment, property dispute, bankruptcy or sudden change in economic status, poverty, professional problem, love affair, impotency, cancellation/ non-settlement of marriage, dowry dispute, fall in social reputation among others,” Khadse said.

Interestingly, during his reply in Parliament on the matter, Union Agriculture Minister Singh too had cited the NCRB data.

Jaidutt Kshirsagar of NCP said a note, containing Khadse’s statement on Pawar and the latter’s reply to Parliament, was circulated without the Speaker’s permission and demanded a probe into the issue. He was supported by Prithviraj Chavan.

Khadse replied that he had sought permission from the Speaker to make a statement on the issue in the House and said a probe be ordered into how the note was distributed.

NCP leaders Chhagan Bhujbal and Shashikant Shinde demanded that Khadse’s remarks be expunged as his statement on Pawar’s reply was circulated with out the Chair’s permission. “This is not as per rules,” they said.

Bhujbal said Pawar had given Rs 76,000 crore loan waiver package to farmers in times of distress. “But (Radha Mohan) Singh has not given even Rs 76,” he said.

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