Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Thursday told the Rajya Sabha that there was nothing wrong in the farm laws and the laws were revolutionary for the farmers. He attacked the Congress and other opposition parties for misleading farmers and spreading lies over farm laws.
Tomar said the farmers are being misled and people of a particular state are misinformed, but the minister did not refer to the state by name. Daring the Opposition to point out any mistake in the farm laws, Tomar said farmers are being misled that other people would occupy their land if these laws are implemented. He asked opposition to find even a single provision about contract farming in the law which allows any trader to snatch the land from any farmer.
Tomar said the Narendra Modi government is committed to the welfare of farmers and to the continuation of the MSP-based mandi system in the country. He claimed that farm laws give farmers an alternative to sell their product outside mandis, and unlike the state government-notified markets, such sale would not attract any tax.
The Congress and other opposition parties, who support the protesting farmers’ demand that the laws be repealed, had attacked the government in Parliament. Following Tomar’s comments, Opposition members objected to the Minister’s claims and accused him of lying.
During the debate, Congress MP Partap Bajwa criticised the government for the crackdown on the farmers’ protest and said the barricading at the Ghazipur protest site looked like the erstwhile Berlin Wall. Referring to the shutdown of Internet in Haryana and parts of Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, Congress leader Anand Sharma called India the internet shutdown capital of the world.
Praising the farmers’ effort at getting the farm laws repealed, Shiromani Akali Dal MP Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa said farmers protest has got the support on the national and international levels unlike any other protests. The protesting farmers deserve justice, he said.
Expressing concern at the situation on Delhi’s borders, Bahujan Samaj Party MP Satish Mishra said the stopping water and power to protest sites is a clear violation of human rights. Urging the Centre to shun its ego and repeal the farm laws, he said the Modi government snapped their water and electricity supplies and even removed toilets, without thinking that women are also there among the protesters.
Speaking of the Republic Day incidents at Red Fort, Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut asked why the Centre has not yet caught the real culprit who caused the violence. He said there has been no discussion from the Centre’s side on the man who led the intrusion but over 200 farmers have been put jailed for the same and several young protesters are still missing.
Adding to the Red Fort imbroglio, Dhindsa demanded a fair inquiry against the culprit, said to be Deep Sidhu, who instigated the protesters for violence on Republic Day. However, farmers should not be blamed for the violence, he said.
On Thursday, 12 MPs from Opposition parties met Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and handed him a letter, saying the condition of farmers resembled that of prisoners in jail. This came after a delegation of 15 non-NDA MPs were stopped from visiting the protesting farmers at Delhi’s Ghazipur border.