Former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Monday claimed the central government’s income scheme for farmers was a desperate attempt by the Bharatiya Janata Party to “placate them with crumbs”.

The senior Congress leader also described the scheme as a “cash for votes” scheme. “BJP is living by the truth that ‘Desperate times require desperate measures’,” he wrote on Twitter. “PM launches ‘Cash for Votes’ scheme. After driving farmers into debt and acute distress, BJP is desperately trying to placate them with crumbs of Rs 17 per day per family!”

Also read:

Modi rolls out his big pre-poll promise of Rs 2,000 per farmer – but who exactly will get the money?

The scheme was announced in the Interim Budget on February 1, and was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Gorakhpur on Sunday. It will give farmers with land up to two hectares Rs 6,000 per year in their bank accounts in three equal instalments. Around 12 crore farmers are expected to benefit from the scheme. The scheme will cost the government Rs 75,000 crore in 2019-’20.

Bahujan Samaj Party President Mayawati has also criticised the scheme. On Sunday, she had said the Centre’s income scheme for farmers was an insult to its beneficiaries, and the “little monetary help” was “atrocious and arrogant”.

Chidambaram had called Sunday a “cash for vote” day. “The BJP government will officially give a bribe of Rs 2,000 per agricultural family to get their votes,” he had said in a series of tweets. “The money will go to the cultivating farmer as well as the absentee landlord. Nothing can be more shameful in a democracy than ‘Bribe for Votes’. The greater shame is that the Election Commission is unable to stop the ‘Bribe for Votes’.”