Meghalaya Governor Satya Pal Malik on Sunday said that he will take the onus of convincing farmers to “leave the issue” of three new agricultural laws if the Centre gave a legal guarantee of the Minimum Support Price for crops, The Indian Express reported.
“They [farmers] should have the guarantee of minimum support price,” the governor said while addressing reporters in Rajasthan’s Jhunjhunu district. “They will be ruined if it is not there. They won’t do any agreement less than that.”
The Minimum Support Price is the guaranteed amount paid to farmers when the government buys their produce. The farmers fear that the government plans to dismantle the Minimum Support Price regime under the guise of reforming the agricultural sector.
“The farmers can leave the issue of the three bills because the Supreme Court has put it on hold,” he said. “There is only one thing, you are not even doing that. Why? Without MSP nothing will happen.”
Malik also said that the Centre should have asked Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra to resign from his post after the Lakhimpur Kheri violence, PTI reported.
“It is completely wrong,” Malik said. “Resignation of the minister should have been sought the day Lakhimpur Kheri incident took place. Otherwise too, he doesn’t deserve to be a minister.”
Eight people, including four farmers, were killed in Lakhimpur Kheri district in Uttar Pradesh on October 3 during a protest against the Centre’s new agriculture laws. Ashish Mishra, the minister’s son, has been arrested on charges of murder after farmer outfits alleged that a vehicle belonging to him ran over the protestors.
“The government will not come back to power if it does not listen to farmers,” Malik said.
Malik also said that farmers in Uttar Pradesh were angry with the saffron party, according to The Indian Express. “I am from Meerut,” he said. “In my area, no BJP leader can enter any village. In Meerut, in Muzaffarnagar, in Baghpat, they can’t enter.”
In March, Malik had said that he would continue to support the protests by farmers against the government’s agricultural laws even if he was removed from his post.
He had urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah to not offend the protesting farmers.
Malik was earlier the governor of Goa, and the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Farm laws protest
The three contentious farm laws were passed by the government in September 2020, which sparked protests by farmers from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh that continue to rage.
The central government has claimed the new laws are aimed at making farming more profitable, but the farmers argue that they will bring about corporate dominance of the sector.
The farmers also claim that once the prevailing authority of the state marketing boards, that provide a shield against exploitation, collapses, private entities will dictate the price of their produce.
In January, nearly two months into the farmer protests, the Supreme Court had suspended implementation of the farm laws.