With over 60 lakh farm families going to hold the key in the upcoming Lok Sabha election in Telangana, political parties are focusing on wooing farmers. The Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) has alleged that the Congress Government, led by A Revanth Reddy, left the farmers in the lurch as crops in lakhs of acres were damaged due to lack of water at a crucial stage.

“In just three months, the agricultural situation turned upside down. Several farmers committed suicide. The Government failed them as they desperately tried to save the crops,” BRS President K Chandrashekar Rao said.

Groundwater levels

Groundwater levels were depleted by 2-4 metres in different parts of the State, while storage levels at all major reservoirs plummeted, causing concern among the farmers.

Rao visited a few places in different parts of the state to express solidarity with the farmers whose crops withered due to lack of groundwater. Appealing to the farmers not to take the extreme step, he said that his party would stand by them in the hour of crisis and put pressure on the government to address their grievances.

At last week’s public meeting at Chevella Lok Sabha constituency, he criticised the government for neglecting farmers and the promises made to them ahead of the Assembly elections in December 2023.

His son and BRS Working President KT Rama Rao also launched an attack on the government, stating that it failed to honour the promise of the 2-lakh loan waiver scheme for farmers.

Farmer discontent

The ruling Congress Party knows the importance of the issues raised by the BRS leaders. Any discontent among the farmers could upset their apple cart in the elections. The Congress is hoping to win 8-12 seats out of the 17 seats in the State. The fact that it won the majority seats in the rural Telangana reflects the expectations of the farmers on the party.

According to initial estimates, crops in over 20 lakh acres were completely damaged due to the lack of water at the crucial grain formation stage. To save the crops, farmers are spending huge amounts to dig new borewells.

With criticism mounting on the government, the Congress Government has turned down the allegations and initiated corrective measures. Senior Congress leader Tummala Nageshwara Rao, who resigned from BRS and joined Congress before the assembly elections, asked the officials to work on the modalities to roll out the Rythu Bharosa, crop insurance scheme, and loan waiver scheme.

He appealed to the cooperative credit societies and banks not to insist on crop loan recoveries as farmers prepare for the kharif season. “We are trying to revive the crop insurance scheme,” he said at a review meeting on Monday.

Directing the officials to make arrangements to roll out the crop insurance well ahead of the kharif season, he said the government was in the process of taking the Election Commission’s permission to disburse compensation to farmers who lost the crop last month due to heavy rains.