The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sonia letter to PM on farmers

New Delhi, Sept. 15: Alarmed at mounting farmer suicides in Congress-ruled Karnataka, Sonia Gandhi has written a letter to Atal Bihari Vajpayee, asking him to provide financial help to the drought-hit state, reports our special correspondent.

Sonia wrote to Vajpayee last Thursday. Her letter was sent within days of summoning Karnataka chief minister S.M. Krishna and state unit chief B. Janardhana Poojary. She told the leaders to check the suicides to contain political damage ahead of the Assembly and Lok Sabha polls. The missive comes in the wake of former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda’s offensive against the government over the deaths.

Gowda had drawn Vajpayee’s attention to the alleged failure of the state government to come to the farmers’ aid.

Sonia told Vajpayee that since Karnataka had suffered a second successive drought, he should waive interest on farmer loans and defer repayment of loans like it had done the previous year. She added that the Central relief package announced for sugarcane growers should be extended to the state.

But the greater part of Sonia’s two-page letter was devoted to defending the Krishna government’s record. She said the suicide deaths were “distressing,” but had been contained by the Congress regime in the state.

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