Ahead of ‘Bharat bandh’, Congress, BJP spar in MP on farm laws
The Congress and BJP in Madhya Pradesh indulged in a war of words on the agriculture sector a day before Tuesday’s ‘Bharat bandh’ called by various outfits to protest against the Centre’s new farm laws.
While senior Congressman and former MP chief minister Kamal Nath said the three laws were passed by the Narendra Modi government without discussions with farmers, the BJP hit back with state agriculture minister Kamal Patel stating that the Congress, in 55 years in power, had done nothing to alleviate farm distress.
In a statement, Nath said, “There is no mention of minimum support price (MSP) guarantee in these new laws. The mandi system will also be destroyed. It will only benefit the corporate world and will lead to profiteering and hoarding.” He said Congress workers will agitate at every district headquarter in MP on Tuesday.
His colleague and Rajya Sabha MP Digvijaya Singh said the new laws wanted to ensure the entry of corporates into the agriculture sector which currently is worth Rs 12-15 lakh crore.
The CPM’s central committee member and Madhya Pradesh Kisan Sangarsh Samiti convener Badal Saroj said over 1,500 farmers from the state are taking part in the ongoing protest in Delhi against the laws, while former MLA and Kisan Sangarsh Samiti working president Dr Suneelam said farmers will not agree to anything less than the cancellation of these three laws.
However, Madhya Pradesh agriculture minister Kamal Patel told reporters farmers were with the BJP and had extended full support to it in the recent bypolls to 28 seats in the state.
“The Congress has done nothing for farmers, neither constructed homes or toilets for them. Under Congress rule, farmers had to pay compound interest on loans and, due to this, many had to sell their lands,” Patel alleged.
He said the earlier system benefited only middlemen who went on to become rich at the expense of farmers.
He said those protesting against these laws must “convince us” about “discrepancies” in the new laws.
“The government is ready to talk, but protesters are adamant as they are aware that if these laws are implemented, then the fate of farmers will change and they will become atmanirbhar (self-reliant),” Patel claimed.