At a time when Maharashtra has already seen 124 debt-ridden farmers ending their lives since January, a Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Mumbai has mocked the issue. Gopal Shetty, who represents north Mumbai in the Parliament, told PTI, "Not all farmers’ suicides happen due to unemployment and starvation. A fashion is going on. A trend is on." Shetty added that state governments are competing with each other "to give money to the farmer".
The BJP condemned Shetty's remarks and said it was his personal views that were expressed. Even more embarrassingly for the Centre-ruling BJP, reports of Shetty's comments surfaced on the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed farmers at a rally in Madhya Pradesh. The Congress condemned Shetty's remarks, saying they showed the BJP's insensitivity towards farmers.