Mulayam refutes Rahuls charge

Lucknow, March 22 | Updated: Mar 23 2005, 05:30am hrs
Refuting Congress MP Rahul Gandhis reported charge in the Lok Sabha on non-payment of dues to sugarcane farmers, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav said on Tuesday that the state government had cleared the arrears of the previous year as well as the current fiscal.

However, he said that there were cane dues of 2003-04, but his party was not in power at that time.

Responding to a notice of propriety given by Congress member Jagadambika Pal and Pramod Tewari in this regard during zero hour in the Vidhan Sabha, Mr Yadav said that the state Congress leaders were not providing Mr Gandhi the correct information.

On Monday, Mr Gandhi had made his maiden speech in the Lok Sabha where he had asked the UP government to comply with the Supreme Court direction on paying sugarcane growers their arrears. He said that although the state authorities had told the apex court that private sugar mill owners did not owe anything to cane growers, the state cane commissioner had said that arrears to the tune of Rs 517 crore in 2002-03 had not been paid to poor farmers.

Accusing the Congress of succumbing to the pressure from industrialists and effecting changes in the states policies, the chief minister said his government had never entered into any kind of agreement with industrialists.

He said it was the Congress which had, in the past, effected changes in policies under pressure from the industrialists.

Mr Yadav alleged that Mr Pal had written to him asking him to extend favours to an industrialist. However, he refused to divulge the contents of the letter despite the Congress leaders repeated insistence. He also charged the BJP with having a tacit understanding with the industrialists and compromising the interest of the cane farmers.

Leader of the Opposition Lalji Tandon refuted the charge and urged the chair to expunge the remarks.