The Congress on Wednesday said the Union Cabinet’s decision to raise minimum support price for paddy was an “electoral lollipop” aimed at wooing farmers ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

All India Congress Committee spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said that the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had failed to fulfill its promise of fixing the minimum support price at 50% above the cost of production.

“If this is not the betrayal of farmers, what is it?” Surjewala asked. “Farmers have been duped yet again. This is merely a public relations exercise on minimum support price and is a mere electoral lollipop.”

He tweeted, “The maha-jumla [false promise] of [minimum support price] is ‘too little, too late’.”

Surjewala alleged that the minimum support price announced on Wednesday would be provided to farmers only in 2019, by which time this government “would be out of power and another one would have to pay”.

The Congress spokesperson alleged that the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices for 2018-’19 were yet to be implemented.

“Unfortunately, the Modi government does not speak the truth and never treads the path of truth,” he said. “The Congress raised Rs 420 in [minimum support price] for paddy from 2009 to 2014 while the Modi government has raised it by only Rs 350.”

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the Centre’s decision was a “historic and great step” towards doubling the farmers’ income, reported PTI. He thanked the prime minister for fulfilling the promise of giving farmers a minimum support price 1.5 times higher than the production cost.

The announcement comes ahead of Assembly elections in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram and Rajasthan later this year, and the General Elections in 2019.

The minimum support price for paddy of common grade was raised by Rs 200 to Rs 1,750 per quintal while that for Grade A variety was raised by Rs 160 per quintal to Rs 1,750. The government said this will ensure at least 50% returns to farmers above cultivation costs.