Punjab BJP president Ashwani Sharma during a tractor rally in Pathankot district of Punjab in favour of farm laws earlier in October.(HT file photo)
Punjab BJP president Ashwani Sharma during a tractor rally in Pathankot district of Punjab in favour of farm laws earlier in October.(HT file photo)

BJP to renew farmer outreach to explain farm laws

The decision comes in the wake of agitation intensifying against the farm laws that were passed in the monsoon session of Parliament amid severe protest from the Opposition
By Smriti Kak Ramachandran | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON NOV 27, 2020 02:27 PM IST

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has decided to step up its drive of reaching out to farmers across the country in a bid to dispel concerns about the farm legislation. In the wake of agitation intensifying against the farm laws that were passed in the monsoon session of Parliament amid severe protest from the Opposition, the party has decided to accelerate its outreach, said a person aware of the details.

In September, following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s instruction to the party cadre to spread awareness about the farm legislation, the BJP carried out a 15-day campaign where senior leaders, ministers, MPs and party functionaries reached out to farmers explaining the intricacies of the new laws.

“The Prime Minister had urged the BJP workers to reach out to the farmers on the ground and explain in simple language the importance and intricacies of reforms, which are aimed at empowering them. This exercise was carried out across the country. In villages, chaupals were held, pamphlets were distributed and farmers were explained the benefits they stand to gain from the new law. However, given the Opposition’s attempt to mislead the farmers, this exercise will be renewed,” said a functionary aware of the details.

Also read | Amarinder Singh, Manohar Lal Khattar spar over police action

As protesting farmers continued with the Dilli Chalo march on Friday and faced tear gas shells, water cannons and batons at the Haryana-Delhi border, the party is concerned by the impact that the tussle will have on the ground. Senior ministers have also been urged to initiate dialogue with farmers’ unions to call off the stir.

Even as the Opposition claims that the new laws do not protect the rights of the farmers, the BJP has blamed the Congress for creating misapprehension. Congress-ruled states such as Punjab and Rajasthan have drafted their own laws to negate the central laws.

The BJP however, refers to its recent win in Bihar, and a clutch of by-elections in states such as Madhya Pradesh, as evidence of its popularity and support for its policies.

“The Opposition has been misleading the farmers. If the farmers were not convinced by the laws, then the party would not have won elections in Bihar, Gujarat and MP where farmers are in good numbers,” said Rajkumar Chahar, head of the BJP’s Kisan Morcha.

Chahar cited a tweet by Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as proof of Congress misleading the farmers. “She (Gandhi) said the laws take away the MSP, which is grossly incorrect. She says the laws will favour the big players, which is also incorrect. The laws empower farmers with small holdings, it seeks to increase farm income and the only ones who will not benefit are the middle men,” Chahar said.

On Thursday, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had tweeted that the government, instead of listening to the voice of the farmer protesting against the law which end minimum support price, is attacking them with water cannons. “Everything is being taken away from the farmers and banks, loan waivers, airport railway stations are being distributed to the capitalists,” she tweeted.

On the police action against the farmers, Chahar said farmers need to be shown respect, but the Opposition has put their lives in danger. “Capt. Amarinder (Punjab CM) should have realised that Delhi is in the throes of the Covid-19 pandemic and by pushing the farmers to protest and come out in large numbers, violating social distancing norms, he has put their lives in danger.”

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