Seeking to corner the Shiv Sena over its president Uddhav Thackeray’s statement last month that the party is ready to forgo power if the BJP government waives debt of farmers, the NCP today asked him to walk the talk, a day after a loan waiver was announced. The state government yesterday agreed in principle to grant a complete but conditional loan waiver to farmers, against the backdrop of strident protests by cultivators in various parts of the state for various demands. According to a farmer leader, the move is expected to benefit 1.07 crore farmers in the state, who have land holdings of less than five acres. Taking a swipe at the Sena chief, the NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik today said, “Uddhav Thackeray should show the state that he is a man of his word and relinquish power by withdrawing his ministers from the government. This is one chance for him to prove to his detractors that his party is not power-hungry and really cares for the welfare of farmers”. Speaking at an agricultural convention organised by his party in Chopada town in Jalgaon on May 20, Thackeray said he was prepared to forego power and withdraw all Sena ministers from the BJP-led government in the state if Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is willing to announce a blanket loan waiver for farmers.
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Thackeray had also said Sena would continue to provide outside support to the BJP government. Malik further said if Thackeray goes back on his words now, it would mean he was only playing with the emotions of farmers all along, who had sought in him their supporter. “We are hopeful that he (Thackeray) will not betray farmers now that the loan waiver is announced. Instead of being a part of the government and criticising it, he will now become an outside critique,” Malik said sarcastically.