|Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi speaks at the agriculture summit in Gandhinagar on Monday. (AFP)
BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi on Wednesday stepped up his attack on Nitish Kumar, armed with a list of 29 Bihar farmers whom Narendra Modi felicitated in Gujarat.
The Bihar government did not allow 72 progressive farmers to take part in the three-day Vibrant Gujarat Global Agriculture Summit, which ended in Gandhinagar on Wednesday, citing several reasons. Ever since the state government cancelled the trip, the BJP-JD(U) spat took a new turn from a war of words to action on the ground. The BJP claimed it had arranged the visit of about 110 farmers to the showpiece event of the western state.
Sushil Kumar Modi, while releasing the list, took pot shots at Nitish, stressing that the Bihar chief minister had forgotten to honour farmers.
“In the last eight years, he has felicitated farmers only once. Our farmers were stopped from going to Gujarat at the behest of the chief minister,” he alleged on Wednesday.
He added that agriculture minister Narendra Singh made several excuses for cancelling the 72 farmers’ trip. “First, he expressed ignorance about any such invitation. Then he said that Bihar was reeling under twin disasters of flood and drought and therefore could not attend the summit. Later, he said there was a training programme launched by the Bihar government on alternative cropping in Bihar. Now, the agriculture minister should explain what happened to this programme,” the state’s former deputy chief minister said.
The BJP leader also alleged that the government had tried to stop farmers from going to Gujarat to attend the summit. “The Bihar government was worried that the state’s farmers would see 24-hour power supply and agricultural development in Gujarat and start demanding similar facilities in Bihar too,” he said.
Sushil Kumar Modi added that Vaishali farmer Sanjeev Kumar and 28 others were felicitated by Narendra Modi who issued a cheque of Rs 51,000 to each of them.
At the summit, the Gujarat chief minister said: “Strengthening agriculture is the only way to improve our economy, empower our youth and bring prosperity to our villages.”