NEW DELHI -- Reports that Gopal Shetty described farmer suicides as the "fashion" has unleashed a volley of criticism against the Bharatiya Janata Party lawmaker from Maharashtra.
While Shetty's linking farmer suicides to the politics of compensation is deeply insensitive and in bad taste, a perusal of his remarks revealed that he did not describe these deaths as being in vogue.
Instead, the BJP leader described the one-upmanship by state governments in providing compensation as the "fashion" or "trend."
"I don't want to get into politics. All suicides are not the consequence of unemployment or starvation," Shetty said.
"A fashion, a trend is going on. If the Maharashtra government is giving five lakhs then the neighboring government is giving seven lakhs, someone else is giving eight lakhs. A competition is on for giving compensation to farmers."
Maharashtra recorded the highest number of suicides in 2015 largely due to crop failure, extreme weather conditions, and the inability to pay loans, The Hindu reported.
Since January, this year, 124 farmers have committed suicide in Maharashtra.