Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Saturday denied having made remarks suggesting that the Centre may bring back the recently-repealed farm laws, ANI reported.
“I never said that,” Tomar said, adding that reports suggesting so were completely incorrect.
“I had said that the government had made good laws, but due to some unavoidable reasons, we rolled them back,” the minister said. “The Union government will continue to work for the welfare of farmers.”
On Friday, Tomar had said that the Union government was not disappointed about the farm laws having been repealed. “...We moved a step back and we will move forward again because farmers are India’s backbone,” he said, according to PTI.
Tomar made the statement at the inaugural ceremony of an agriculture industry exhibition in Nagpur.
Several Congress leaders on Saturday had severely criticised Tomar for his statement. Party leader Rahul Gandhi had said that the Union agriculture minister had insulted the apology given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he announced the decision to repeal the laws.
“If the government takes any steps against the interests of agriculture, then the farmers’ satyagraha will resume,” Gandhi had said. “Arrogance had been defeated before, and it will be defeated again!.”
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala claimed that the “conspiracy by the Modi government” against farmers was finally revealed.
“We will ensure the failure of the politics of lies, divisions and loot of the arrogant government and the ineffective prime minister, who is conspiring to bring the black laws back under pressure from capitalists,” Surjewala said.
The three contentious agriculture laws were repealed on December 1 after sustained protests against them.
Thousands of farmers had built tent cities at Delhi’s border points since November 2020, demanding that the Centre repeal the three laws that proposed to open up the country’s agriculture markets to private companies. The farmers feared that the policies would make them vulnerable to corporate exploitation and would dismantle the minimum support price regime.
During the protests, the government continued to claim that the three legislations were pro-farmers.
But on November 19, on the occasion of Guru Parab, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that his government would repeal the laws during the Winter Session of Parliament.
The announcement came months ahead of the Assembly elections in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.