The West Bengal Legislative Assembly on Thursday passed a resolution seeking immediate withdrawal of three farm laws, reported NDTV. With this, West Bengal has become the sixth state to do so after Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Rajasthan and Kerala.
“We oppose the anti-farmer laws,” Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said while addressing the House. “We demand their immediate withdrawal. Either the Centre should withdraw the laws or step down.”
Banerjee also demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should convene an all-party meeting to discuss the process of the repeal of the legislations. Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs opposed Banerjee’s move, claiming that the Trinamool Congress government has launched a “misinformation campaign” against the laws. BJP MLA Manoj Tigga, along with other party legislators, then staged a walkout chanting “Jai Shri Ram”.
Addressing the Assembly, Banerjee said that the Centre should also waive loans of farmers as it had done for corporations. She also said the Delhi Police “mishandled” Tuesday’s tractor rally, which resulted in the situation getting out of hand. The police and farmers had clashed during the rally, leaving 394 police personnel injured.
“Delhi Police is to be blamed for that [the Republic Day violence],” Banerjee said. “What was the Delhi police doing? It was a complete intelligence failure. We will not tolerate farmers being branded as traitors. They are the assets of this country.”
The chief minister also appealed to the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Congress to put their ideological differences aside and support the resolution. Both the CPI (M) and the Congress supported the resolution but demanded that the state government withdraw similar legislations it had passed a few years ago, according to PTI.
Tens of thousands of farmers had been camping out on the outskirts of Delhi in the intense cold for over two months, before entering the city on Tuesday. The farmers demand the repeal of the three agricultural laws passed in September. They believe that the new laws undermine their livelihood and open the path for the corporate sector to dominate the agricultural sector.
The government, on the other hand, maintains that the new laws will give farmers more options in selling their produce, lead to better pricing, and free them from unfair monopolies. The law passed in September are meant to overhaul antiquated procurement procedures and open up the market, the government has claimed.