Women have been staging protests across the state demanding the government fulfils its election promise to waive loans of women debtors. Sarma clarified on Friday that the promise was meant only for underprivileged women. He also informed the media the government decision to categorize the borrowers into three categories, refusing to make it a loan waiver scheme for all.
The Congress said Sarma has tactfully evaded the issue though women were led to believe that every one of them would get the waiver as they were facing financial difficulties because of the pandemic. The Assam Pradesh Congress Committee in a statement said the chief minister cannot make light of his electoral promise by saying it was a ‘political statement’. “It is a grievous matter of breach of trust,” said APCC spokesperson, Bobbeeta Sharma.
She said that Sarma not only made the loan waiver an electoral promise but even after taking charge as chief minister, he announced in the assembly that he would see to it that all loans are waived and their promise to the ‘innocent women’ is followed word by word. “How did the promise now become a ‘political statement’?” Sharma questioned.
“What will happen to those lakhs of women debtors who turned out in huge numbers at election rallies believing the then finance minister’s (Sarma) words as ‘xilor rekha’ or words written on stone and seeing him as their saviour? Why didn’t he tell these ‘innocent women’ that conditions would be applicable? Lakhs of women will be denied the waiver due to the categorisation,” she added.
The Congress reminded the voters how BJP had gone back on its promise to transfer Rs 15 lakh into every citizen’s bank account and cautioned unemployed youths that they should not forget the promise of 2 crore jobs every year. “We have also seen how they betrayed the tea garden community by not keeping their promise to increase their daily wage to Rs 351. The tea garden community should not forget this betrayal,” said Sharma.
For the BJP, the Congress said, election campaigns have been reduced to event management exercises where people gather to listen to their ‘false promises’. “For them electoral promises mean ‘jumla’ as has been famously said by one of their senior ministers. The most powerful BJP leader in the state and chief minister has left women in the lurch,” Sharma added.
The APCC has demanded that the government immediately releases a white paper on the total number of women debtors with details of the number of women who would be able to avail the waiver as per the rules subscribed by the government. “We also need to know how many women will not be able to avail the waiver,” said Sharma.