Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said the farm bills that have generated controversy and outrage from Opposition parties were “historic and necessary” for the country to move forward in the 21st Century, NDTV reported. He also claimed that the Opposition was instigating farmers with lies as they “feel control slipping away”.
“Suddenly, many people have problems with the new laws,” Modi said. “Questions were raised what will happen to Krishi mandis [agricultural markets]? Will they close down? This will never happen. I want to clarify this new law is not against Krishi Mandis. The way work was done there before, will continue. In fact, our government has made efforts to make Krishi mandis better. People who are saying these laws will hurt Krishi mandis are lying.”
Modi said the old laws on produce and yield had “tied the hands of farmers”. He claimed that people were taking advantage of farmers, and hence it was necessary to change the situation.
The three bills are: the Farmers’ Produce Trade And Commerce (Promotion And Facilitation) Bill, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill. They have all been passed by the Lok Sabha, while the Rajya Sabha cleared two of them amid great chaos on Sunday.
Rajya Sabha Chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu on Monday suspended eight legislators from Opposition parties for a week of the Parliament’s Monsoon Session for their “unruly behaviour” in the Upper House on Sunday during the debate on these bills. These MPs are Derek O’Brien and Dola Sen of the Trinamool Congress, Rajiv Satav, Ripun Bora and Syed Nasir Hussain of the Congress, Elamaram Kareem and KK Ragesh of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Aam Aadmi Party’s Sanjay Singh. But they refused to leave, causing multiple adjournments of the Rajya Sabha. Meanwhile, the Opposition said the members should be given a chance to explain themselves.
Chaos descended in the Rajya Sabha on Sunday as two of the bills on the agricultural sector were up for vote. At one point, the telecast of the proceedings was muted as members of Opposition parties gathered inside the well of the House in protest. After a short adjournment, deputy chairperson Harivansh Narayan Singh took up the bills, clause by clause, and passed them. But demonstrations continued inside the Rajya Sabha even after the session ended as the deputy chairperson had not agreed for a division of votes.
During the protests against the ordinances, some MPs reportedly broke the microphones on the chairperson’s desk and were seen tearing sheets of paper and throwing them around. While Derek O’Brien from the TMC was caught waving the rule book at the chair, Sanjay Singh of AAP was escorted out by marshals.
BJP allies oppose bills
Meanwhile, Shiromani Akali Dal Rajya Sabha MP Naresh Gujral on Sunday said that the party will make a decision on the future of its alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party within a week. The Shiromani Akali Dal has opposed all three farm bills.
Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala on Monday said that there was not a single line in the three agriculture-related bills on ending the Minimum Support Price, or MSP, and claimed that he would quit from his post if the support price was threatened.
Thousands of farmers in Haryana and Punjab have been protesting against the contentious agriculture bills. The bills have already been cleared in the Lok Sabha.