If farmers want, they can change governments, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao said at an event in Chandigarh on Sunday, the Hindustan Times reported.
“It is not a big thing,” he said. “Agitation should continue till farmers get the right price and there is a constitutional guarantee for it.”
Farmers have been demanding that minimum support price guarantee be extended to all produce, not just rice and wheat. The minimum support price is the rate at which the government buys farm produce and is based on a calculation of at least one and a half times the cost of production incurred by farmers. Market rates for many crops are usually well below the minimum support price.
Centre has not yet set up a panel on minimum support price.
Rao, along with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Punjab counterpart Bhagwant Mann, were in the Chandigarh to pay tributes to farmers who died during the anti-farm law protests between November 2020 and November 2021.
Thousands of farmers had camped at Delhi’s border points from 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.
The three farm laws were repealed on December 1.
On Sunday, Rao distributed Rs 3 lakh as compensation to the families of the farmers who died during the protest, reported the Hindustan Times. He also gave Rs 10 lakh each to the families of the soldiers who were killed in the Galwan Valley standoff with China in 2020.
Rao said he was dedicated to the cause of farmers.
“Before Telangana became a state, a lot of farmer issues persisted,” he said. “Farmers were dying by suicide. We are improving by giving farmers free electricity. The Centre asked us to impose electricity bills and put meters. We would die but not install meters.”
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi leader said that he supports farmers and understands their pain, reported the Hindustan Times.
“Kejriwal is lucky that he got a chance to serve farmers as they sat on Delhi’s borders,” Rao said. “We too would always support our farmer brothers and sisters. We cannot bring back those who have died but we are with you in this pain.”
The Centre wanted to convert Delhi stadiums into makeshift jails to arrest protesting farmers, Kejriwal alleged, ANI reported.
“The farmers’ agitation was for the entire country not just for the farmers of Punjab or Haryana,” he said. “The central government wanted to convert stadiums into jails to arrest them, but I did not give permission for this.”
As part of a national tour, Rao met Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Saturday. He is set to meet more political leaders in Karnataka, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Bihar in the coming week.