Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said the proposed farming laws at the centre of a massive controversy are “historic and necessary” for the country to move forward. In an attack on the opposition, he also indicated that they are the architects of the controversy, instigating farmers with lies as they “feel control slipping away”.
In a video address to the people of Bihar at a programme to lay the foundation of nine highway projects, PM Modi said farmers in several states have been reaping rewards from the new system after the farm ordinances were issued in June.
The government, he said, is getting ground reports of the “many benefits”. In Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal, where farmers made a good harvest of pulses, they had 15 per cent to 25 per cent more income this year compared to the last.
“After these historic changes in the agriculture sector, after such a big system change, some people saw that it is slipping out of their grip. So now these people are trying to mislead farmers on MSP (Minimum Support Price),” he said, citing one of the biggest concerns of farmers.
“These are the same people who kept sitting for years under the recommendations of the Swaminathan Committee on MSP,” PM Modi added in a dig at the Congress. The eight-member national commission was set up in 2004 to provide solutions for the farm sector after the UPA came to power at the Centre.
Over the last weeks, criticism has been heaped on the government over its big ticket farm sector bills. As farmers launched protests across several states including Punjab and Haryana, the Congress and other opposition parties highlighted their concerns. Last week, BJP ally Akali Dal — which initially supported the farm bills — quit the government, claiming the issues they flagged have gone unheard.
Yesterday, two of the three bills were passed by Rajya Sabha amid uproar, with the opposition claiming that rules were broken to favour the government. The opposition MPS also filed a no-confidence motion against Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman, which was rejected today.
Eight opposition members including Trinamool Congress’s Derek O’Brien, have been suspended but they refuse to leave the House.
“This does not end here,” Derek O’Brien had said on Sunday, terming it a “murder of democracy”. “They cheated. They broke every rule in Parliament. It was a historic day. In the worst sense of the word. They cut RSTV feed so the country couldn’t see. They censored RSTV. Don’t spread propaganda. We have evidence,” his tweet read.
“Muting Of Democratic India’ continues: by initially silencing and later, suspending MPs in the Parliament & turning a blind eye to farmers’ concerns on the black agriculture laws. This ‘omniscient’ Govt’s endless arrogance has brought economic disaster for the entire country,” Congress’s Rahul Gandhi tweeted today.