The Election Commission has halted payouts to farmers in Telangana under a monetary assistance scheme of the state government, citing the model code of conduct, but the ruling Bharat Rashtra Samithi is blaming the Congress.
The Congress has been quick to retort that the scheme was paused for a few days by the poll panel because finance minister T. Harish Rao tried to exploit it for electoral gains during campaign rallies.
Under the Rythu Bandhu scheme, farmers receive Rs 5,000 per acre of cultivated area during the Kharif and Rabi seasons. It was launched in May 2018, six months before the state elections in which the Telangana Rashtra Samithi — as the party was then known — won a landslide with 88 of the 119 seats.
On November 18, the state government informed the poll panel that disbursement of funds under the scheme was proposed from November 24 and sought permission. The permission was granted on November 25.
Congress state senior vice-president G. Niranjan on November 26 complained to the poll panel that the finance minister was electorally exploiting the permission. The EC then halted the disbursal. Voting is on November 30.
Chief minister K. Chandrashekar Rao, facing anti-incumbency and a resurgent Congress, used the final leg of the campaign to accuse the Opposition party of impeding the payouts. At rallies, he thanked the poll panel for granting permission and blamed the Congress.
“How many days can they stop Rythu Bandhu? After December 3, the BRS party will return to power and start disbursement of financial assistance from December 6,” KCR said.
“It’s BRS that gave you the Rythu Bandhu, not the Congress,” he told a massive rally in Gajwel on Tuesday.
State Congress president A. Revanth Reddy said “uncle and nephew” — KCR and Harish Rao — have “no real intent to help farmers other than seek their votes”.
“Farmers need not worry. When the Congress comes to power, we will deposit Rs 15,000 under Rythu Bharosa scheme in your bank accounts,” he tweeted.