Sohan Lal Kadela, a debt-ridden farmer from Rajasthan's Sri Ganganagar reportedly committed suicide on June 23, allegedly by consuming poison. Before he took his own life, Kadela, in a video alleged that the Congress-led state government's loan waiver did not benefit the farmers in the state.
In the video, Kadela is reportedly heard saying that though nobody should be blamed for his suicide, it is a warning to the Ashok Gehlot-led state government, which gave compensation to farmers but it did not benefit them. He also alleged that banks are still troubling farmers.
While the incident has created a political furore, with former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje attacking the Congress government for failing to fulfil its promises, this is not the first time that the Gehlot government has been caught in a controversy over its farm loan waiver promise.
During the campaigning for Lok Sabha polls in the state, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders had targeted Congress, alleging it had failed to waive off farm loans and had made false promises during the Assembly elections in December.
"To lie and mislead, that is what I called lollipop...like saying we have waived all farm loans. The truth is that nothing like that has happened. Please see their circulars, they should not mislead," PM Modi had told news agency ANI in January.
BJP leaders in the state had said that they will be focusing on the Congress' promises, and its inability to fulfil them during the general elections.
"Look at what they promised and what they delivered," Amit Goyal, a BJP leader, had told Moneycontrol. "The unemployed haven't got a single rupee in their bank accounts. The promised loan waiver is nowhere to be seen," he had added.
The late BJP state President, Madan Lal Saini, had alleged that farmers have started taking their own lives because Congress could not waive off their loans.
"Farmers' deaths have started. So far, three people have died. One man committed suicide because his entire crop got damaged. They said several things in the manifesto," State BJP president Madan Lal Saini had told India Today TV.
Congress had also been criticised after the state government had announced, in January, that it would waive off the loans of those farmers who had committed suicide. Farmers had also held several protests in February demanding loan waiver, and had even tried to gherao the state assembly.
On its part, in February, the Congress government had rolled out a waiver through special camps organised in about 33 districts of Rajasthan, with additional camps scheduled for later in the month.
Leaders of the Grand Old Party have been saying that the promises made during the campaigning for Assembly polls have been fulfilled or are in the process and were stopped due to the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) during the Lok Sabha poll campaigning.