Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday once again supported the three contentious farm laws as he accused the Opposition parties of misguiding the protesting farmers, reported PTI. Modi said his government would keep assuring farmers and address their concerns.
“Farmers gathered near Delhi are being misled as part of a conspiracy,” Modi said after laying the foundation stone for a bunch of projects in Gujarat’s Kachchh district. “Farmers are told that their land will be grabbed by others if new farm reforms get implemented. I want to ask you, did the dairy owner take your cattle because you are selling milk to him?”
The prime minister said the Opposition parties were in favour of similar reforms in the farm sector when they were in power. “The agriculture reforms that have taken place are exactly what farmer bodies and even opposition parties have been asking over the years,” he added. “Now when the country has decided to embrace these reforms, these people are spreading falsehood and misleading farmers. I want to reiterate that my government is ready 24 hours to resolve all your doubts.”
“The country is asking why small farmers who produce grains and pulses should not get the freedom to sell crops. Agricultural reforms were in demand for years. Many farmers’ organisations have also demanded in advance that they should be given an option to sell food grains anywhere.”— PM Narendra Modi
Modi’s comments came even as the protesting farmers camped out near Delhi for the 20th straight day on Tuesday. They remain adamant on the demand that the Centre repeal the three laws. The government has time and again made it clear that would not scrap the farm laws, but is willing to make amendments.
Tens of thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, have been protesting at key entry points to Delhi. The farmers fear the agricultural reforms will weaken the minimum support price mechanism under which the government buys agricultural produce, will lead to the deregulation of crop-pricing, deny them fair remuneration for their produce and leave them at the mercy of corporations.
Several rounds of talks have been held between the two sides, but none so far, have been able to thaw tensions between the farmers and the government. On December 9, farmers had rejected the Centre’s written proposal on the amendments to the three laws, and intensified their protests.
The farmers fear the agricultural reforms will weaken the minimum support price mechanism under which the government buys agricultural produce, will lead to the deregulation of crop-pricing, deny them fair remuneration for their produce and leave them at the mercy of corporations.
However, internal conflicts have emerged. At least 10 organisations representing farmers’ of several states met Agriculture Minister NS Tomar on Monday and extended their support to the contentious farm laws. The delegation comprising farmers from Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Bihar and Haryana, were associated with the All India Kisan Coordination Committee.