The Asian Age/Deccan Chronicle, October 19, 2016: BJP’s Varun Gandhi initiative to help poor farmers, is now turning into a movement in Uttar Pradesh. After taking the initiative to help the debt-hit farmers, BJP’s Sultanpur MP on Tuesday donated nearly 100 homes to poor farmers, who so far lived only under thatched roofs.
The homes, donated by the party’s youth icon was a dream coming true for the farmers hit by poverty. Painted in bright “sunshine yellow,” these homes were built with Mr Gandhi’s salary and donations.
Even as the BJP has decided to go to the polls without a chief ministerial candidate, a demand to project him continues to grow among the youth in the Uttar Pradesh. Mr Gandhi, however, made it categorically clear; “My work has nothing to do with politics, any political party or any government. It’s purely a citizen revolution.”
And there were bouquets, blessings and unending applause for him. The BJP MP said that his real earning in life was the blessings of the poor and farmers and his aim was to make every person free from the burden of debts.
His initiative has also helped many debt-ridden farmer families, whose member had either committed suicide or were on the brink of taking their lives. Mr Gandhi said he would continue to work for the welfare of the poor from the resources at hand.
Sunil Singh, a local resident said, “These houses have been built on the land of the local people that includes local businessmen, rich farmers and others and Mr Gandhi has taken the initiative by making a major financial contribution. The houses have one room and a toilet and the cost of each house is about Rs 1.5 lakh. Mr Gandhi intends to provide 2,000 such homes by next year across the state. The houses made of bricks were also a blessing as in the rural areas fire incidents during summers reduce ‘kuccha’ houses to ashes almost every year.
“With ‘pucca’ houses now, we no longer have to worry about fire incidents”, said Sunil. The move has also been appreciated by his arch political rivals which include the Akhilesh Yadav government.
From next year onwards assisted by a team of volunteers, Mr Gandhi is planning to come up with an interactive digital platform and an app to help debt-ridden farmers. Mr Gandhi’s initiative has so far helped more than 3,650 marginalised farmers to become debt free.
This digital platform will have data collection of over 20,000 farmers from the state, who are under debt. This platform will act a link to those who want to financially assist these farmers. Details of debt-ridden farmers, including their bank accounts and other information through audio and video clips will be available on this digital platform.
To maintain check and balance, a panel of local panel and agriculture experts, will also be associated with this platform, who will also suggest farmers on varieties of crops other than the traditional crop patterns, which would suit their land. Mr Gandhi said he is planning to include others states also as he has been receiving queries and suggestions from other states also about this initiative to help marginalised farmers.
“The real work has been done by our army of unpaid volunteers from rural and semi-rural background. This initiative would not have reached this far without the efforts and blessings of thousands, who remain nameless, but contributed in every way they could for this initiative to help farmers from debt and save them for taking their lives,” said Mr Gandhi.